Against a backdrop of a slowing economy, escalating Brexit uncertainty, and rises in business costs as the UK enters a new tax year, the latest results from the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Economic Survey, represents a tale of two halves.

Sales and orders levels hold in strong positive territory, overseas sales have risen, which could be in line with year end and recruitment activity has held strong, along with future intentions to recruit.

On the other side of the coin, cash flow appears to have taken a turn for the worse and confidence levels have plummeted, relative to the record levels shown in Lincolnshire in 2018.

With the lack of clarity over the UK’s future relationship with the EU, network of Chambers of Commerce in the UK have been calling for an end to the relentless uncertainty, which as the latest results from the long-standing business survey, on a national level, shows damaged confidence levels and investment plans of business communities.

Simon Beardsley, Chief Executive at Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, comments on the results: “In Lincolnshire, our latest survey, whilst similar to that of the national picture, suggests both a positive and a negative depiction, which has a number of contributing factors.

“We have seen ill-timed increases in business costs – including compliance with Making Tax Digital, higher business rates for some firms, increased employer pension contribution requirement, and more – are also raising costs pressures for companies at a time when government should be looking to reduce rather than increase burdens.

“For too long Brexit tunnel-vision has distracted government from fixing the fundamentals to support growth and we need to see an increased focus on creating the conditions for business success at home.”

Simon concluded: “With all of this, it is apparent we are currently experiencing some interesting times for business and the economy as a whole, meaning it is ever more vital that we continue to see increasing numbers of local business engage with this survey and let us know how they are faring, so we can feed the intelligence gained to government.”

Quarter 2 QES fieldwork will be open Monday 20th May and will remain open until Monday 10th June.

To view the full briefing, please visit Lincolnshire Research Observatory