North East companies continuing to thrive

Businesses in the Yorkshire and Humberside areas are continuing to move forward in the face of the economic upturn.

That’s according to the latest report from the ICAEW / Grant Thornton UK Business Confidence Monitor (BCM) which revealed confidence in the region has been on an upward trend since mid-2012 – and now stands at +46.6, comfortably above the UK national average of +37.2.

Over the past year turnover, gross profits and sales volumes have increased by 3.9%, 3.4% and 3.2% respectively – with this encouraging trend forecast to continue over the next 12 months.

Chris Manners, ICAEW regional director for Yorkshire and Humberside, said: “As we have seen with the recent GDP figures and this quarter’s BCM, the recovery is accelerating. We need to continue to push to grow our exports, against a backdrop of a widening trade deficit, at the same time as ensuring that the momentum in the UK economy is maintained across all parts of the country.

“Currently, the region’s reliance on the domestic market could leave businesses exposed to risks in the UK economy such as low pay growth and public sector payroll reductions.”

Businesses in the region have reported strong growth in UK domestic sales of 5.3% over the last year with a forecast of 6.1% over the next 12 months.

Will Oxley, senior practice partner for the Leeds office of Grant Thornton, said: “Whilst concerns remain around the sustainability of the recovery, the trend in business confidence by sector, which is broad based, is encouraging.

“Construction and banking, and finance and insurance are two sectors that particularly stand out this quarter, predicting strong profit and employment growth.

“With the region’s strong heritage in manufacturing, we are increasingly seeing Yorkshire businesses considering exploring new markets in Europe and beyond. We expect this focus on export to gain momentum over the coming year and, with the right support, businesses in the region could play a key role in helping to narrow Britain’s trade deficit.”

Author: Holly Hughes

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