‘Keep calm and carry on’ de­spite Brexit con­cerns

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Kent Business Update -

Busi­ness con­fi­dence in Kent has fallen faster than the na­tional av­er­age as eco­nomic un­cer­tainty makes it harder to plan in­vest­ments, a new study in­di­cates.

A mon­i­tor­ing tool of at­ti­tudes in the South East headed into neg­a­tive ter­ri­tory in the third quar­ter sur­vey by the In­sti­tute of Char­tered Ac­coun­tants of Eng­land and Wales (ICAEW).

The con­fi­dence in­dex in the re­gion slipped to mi­nus 10.1, worse than the na­tional av­er­age of mi­nus 8. This de­spite a back­drop of im­proved sales, up 4.8% year-on-year, and profit growth.

The ICAEW talks to 1,000 in­dus­try ac­coun­tants, of which more than 170 came from the South East.

It showed the cost of raw ma­te­ri­als and fuel grew faster than last year, at 3% this quar­ter, com­pared to 0.9% at the same time last year.

Cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture is ex­pected to rise by 2.1% over the next 12 months.

An­drew Griggs, se­nior part­ner at Kre­ston Reeves, which has of­fices in Can­ter­bury, Chatham and Sand­wich, said: “Busi­nesses crave cer­tainty – where they can con­trol costs, such as wages – and pro­tect prof­its. For many, the re­cent sud­den weak­en­ing in ster­ling is mak­ing fu­ture plan­ning and in­vest­ment hard.

“That lit­tle ma­te­rial progress ap­pears to have been made on in the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions with the EU will leave busi­nesses ner­vous, par­tic­u­larly those with strong Euro­pean con­nec­tions.

“Po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty fol­low­ing the weak UK elec­tion re­sult will also have con­trib­uted.

“Brexit will in­evitably lead to us be­ing a more self-con­tained na­tion and there is a time ad­just­ment for this to hap­pen.

“Busi­nesses for now need to ‘keep calm and carry on’.”

An­drew Griggs, se­nior parn­ter at Kre­ston Reeves

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