City-Brexit-Uncertainty

Chambers from across the country have contributed to quarterly reports exposing the impact of Brexit uncertainly on the economy.

Reports published last week by London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) and the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) painted a stark picture of an economy struggling under the weight of Brexit uncertainty.

The BCC’s Quarterly Economic Survey is a nationwide business-confidence survey which includes 7,000 businesses which employ over one million people. With no end in sight for the Brexit impasse, the report finds that the uncertainty and inability to commit to long-term plans “is contributing to a sharp slowdown in the real economy across the UK”. Findings from LCC’s Capital 500 are similarly stark with all business confidence and economic outlook indicators dropping. 

“These are some of the weakest figures we’ve seen in nearly a decade, and that’s no coincidence. The prospect of a messy and disorderly exit from the EU is weighing heavily on the UK economy, and must still be avoided”

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General BCC

What was previously consigned to economic predictions is now permeating economic metrics. The theme has been consistent throughout our conversations with members, and the risks were apparent when we spoke to Jenny Goss, director of O’Leary Goss over a year ago. The forewarned consequences of an opaque and disorderly period of negotiations is now a reality and the government must work swiftly to restore business confidence by providing a clear, detailed account of our future relationship with the European Union.   

GMCC’s report – discussed at last week’s Quarterly Economic Breakfast – strikes a more positive tone. Whilst acknowledging the short-term impacts of Brexit uncertainty, the report signals that business confidence remains high with manufacturing and construction amongst the most resilient of sectors with both reporting steady prospects for both turnover and profitability in the long-term.

Alistair Chapman, Director at CBRE attended the GMCC event last week. He said:

“The sentiment survey reflects what we’ve been seeing in the construction sector. Fundamentals are really strong and business confidence is high. But you can see a short-term nervousness and if Brexit deal goes a different way it could have an impact. Whilst overseas development remains resilient, there is some concern that this is just a lag reflecting a previous period of growth which would be reversed if there is a negative outcome from Brexit”

As chambers of commerce representing London, Greater Manchester and Bristol we are continuing to gather evidence for a campaign – Terms of Trade: the reality of Brexit for business – exploring the everyday impacts of the most widely discussed Brexit scenarios on business through our members’ own insights. Email hello@chamber.online to share your views.