Strong performance for UK sales and orders, stable investment plans and continued confidence for Lincolnshire businesses were just some of the responses given in the Quarterly Economic Survey for quarter four 2017.

Results from the survey also demonstrated a jump in recruitment activity for both Services and Manufacturing, and strong intentions to recruit up from the previous quarter.

However, whilst there are some positive factors to take through 2018, it does not come without its hindrances.

Overseas sales are stagnant with orders contracting and cash flow optimism has somewhat deteriorated for local businesses. UK sales and orders remain positive albeit with a dip in both activities, and 46% of businesses who participated in the survey cited ‘competition’ as a main concern with ‘inflation’ following shortly behind.

Cllr Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economy and Place, said; "Although businesses are clearly still having to navigate what remains an uncertain economic climate, there are rays of hope. Domestic sales are holding up and, importantly, local businesses remain confident about the future.

"I firmly believe that 2018 can be Lincolnshire's year. The world is changing and, if we rise to the challenges ahead, we can truly be at the forefront of the next Industrial Revolution, which will be based around digital skills and technology.

"And Lincolnshire County Council will be on hand to help our local businesses reap the benefits."

Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, Lincolnshire County Council and the University of Lincoln record these results, and continue to support data gathering to help inform the local and national policy. Therefore, participation must increase in order to provide a thorough analysis and speak out on behalf of the total local business economy.

Therefore, all organisations are encouraging local businesses to fill out the survey in 2018, ensuring future results ahead of, and post Brexit, are accurate and relevant.

Simon Beardsley, Chief Executive at Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce commented saying;

“2017 was a busy and productive year for Lincolnshire businesses, with inward investment supporting new projects and significant construction work taking place around the county to help future proof our county.

“There is still a long way to go before we exit the EU in 2019, and this year is highly important as the government have now agreed on three separation issues which are; the rights of UK and EU citizens, the divorce bill and arrangements for the Northern Ireland border. Talks will now focus on the future relations including trade after Brexit and the terms of a ‘transition period’.

“As we edge closer to our departure, we hope to reach a pragmatic agreement with the EU which should provide clarity and understanding for many Lincolnshire businesses.

“As such it seems that this year will be more important year than ever for businesses to participate and fill out the QES. The results are key for assessing where the Lincolnshire business economy stands in relation to other areas of the UK, and are needed to paint a clear and complete image of what our position is now, in comparison to where we will be after Brexit.

“Tailored support will become more readily available if senior officials at Downing Street are able to identify the needs, issues and challenges within the Lincolnshire Business community. Without the local business input, the chances of this are significantly reduced.

“It is our responsibility as business professionals to provide local input and speak up on behalf of Lincolnshire”.