The Q4 survey, made up of responses from nearly 8,000 businesses, shows improvements in most areas for both the manufacturing and service sectors, and that all key balances are stronger than their long-term historical averages.
In the manufacturing sector, five key balances are at all time highs, and exports in the services sector continue to break new ground. But the recovery must be maintained, as risks persist around access to finance for firms looking to expand, and rectifying this is vital in moving our economy from being merely good to being truly great.
Commenting on the results, John Longworth, Director General of the BCC, said: “It is a fantastic to start the New Year with a very positive quarterly survey. Confidence is high and our members are resolute in their determination to take the recovery from being good to being truly great. Firms across the board believe they can create jobs, invest, and export. It is especially pleasing that the spurt in the manufacturing has proven not to be a fluke, which demonstrates the dynamism of our small, high value, manufacturing sector. But businesses have major ambitions, and to be able to meet them, more support must be provided.
“Cashflow continues to be an ongoing concern, and may hold businesses back from expanding to meet the growing levels of demand. We must give companies the opportunity to get the finance they need to go out and trade the world if we are to succeed in rebalancing the economy.
“As the 2015 General Election looms ever closer, the government cannot afford to get distracted by short-term political infighting. Long-term growth strategies must be delivered with a strong national consensus, particularly around the infrastructure investments that the country sorely needs. Only then will we have an environment that fosters enterprise and an economy which meets its true potential.”