QES: Glass is ‘very much half full’ for Lancashire businesses

QES Event - July 2015

A financial expert has told the Lancashire business community that the glass is very much ‘half full’, despite some disappointing responses to the latest Quarterly Economic Survey.

Stephen Gregson, from Moore and Smalley Chartered Accountants, detailed the findings of the Quarter Two 2015 survey during a business breakfast and networking event at Preston’s College on Tuesday.

The Lancashire QES, which forms part of the British Chambers of Commerce’s nationwide survey, is compiled by the county’s three Chambers of Commerce.

However the responses were reflective of the national picture as a whole.

During the event, which was attended by a record number of people from the Lancashire business community, Mr Gregson said: “The message from the survey does not chime with our experience with our clients. Our experience is that businesses are performing better than this.

“Overseas markets are again declining. Exports have suffered and that is something we need to get our heads around and that is difficult to do if the currency is too strong.

“Businesses are saying they are finding it easier to recruit staff. Investment in plant and machinery is up year on year and investment in training is up as well and that has to be a good thing.

“More manufacturing businesses are saying they are at full capacity and that is a positive message. Services are down, but then again that may change.

“If this QES is any indication of how the economy is performing then it is meandering.

“Greatest concerns are usually quite consistent and it is the same this time. Interest rates, inflation and exchange rates – which might change over the course of the next few months, which makes it harder for exporters – are all up there again.

“There is concern about what the future might look like and that is to be expected. That is a reasonable response at this point.

“But our experience is very different from the negative sense that comes out of this survey. I think things are recovering slowly.

“I very much see this set of results fitting into the overall picture and the glass is very much half full.”

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