Confidence on the up but exports slowing down according to new economic report


Business sentiment in the Leeds City Region continues to present a mixed picture according to the latest Quarterly Economic Survey by the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Chambers of Commerce.

Business confidence is heading back to pre-recession levels and more companies are reporting growth than aren’t.

However the report reveals disappointing results on a number of other indicators.

Continuing uncertainty in the City Region’s two main trade markets – Europe and North America – is to blame for a drop in export sales, and more companies are reporting cash flow issues compared with last quarter.

The manufacturing sector has been hardest hit, with confidence lower among manufacturers than service sector firms.

More positive news includes an overall increase in domestic sales, a decrease in inflation and a rise in the number of companies making investments in training, which chimes with the LEP’s current five three one campaign to promote the productivity benefits of investing in skills.

The City Region economy received a boost last month with the announcement that it is to receive an additional £30 million from the Regional Growth Fund, bringing the total secured through all three rounds of the Fund to £90 million.

The LEP itself received £20 million to support business growth and job creation in the City Region. Businesses will be able to apply for a share of this funding from early 2013.

LEP Board Chair, Neil McLean, commented:

"This new funding will give us significant additional capacity to drive growth by providing grants to ambitious SMEs. We’ll be able to offer support to a wide range of projects with grants of £10,000 up to £1million"

Other LEP activity to stimulate economic growth includes a new export campaign launching this autumn, a second round of its £36 million Growing Places loan fund, and a new website providing business support information and resources for SMEs.