Liverpool businesses are ready to ride the storm

Posted by Jenny Stewart

Chief Executive of Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Fri 28th, Apr

This week we have published the results of our latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) and you can see the report here.

In summary, it showed a mixed picture with the positivity of a relatively strong performance for city region firms in the first three months of this year tempered by the expectation of falling turnover and profits in the coming 12 months.

The survey was, of course, carried out prior to th e announcement of the General Election, set to take place on June 8. It will be interesting to see how that impacts on our next QES.

In the report, I have described the indices around business confidence for the coming 12 months as stark, though the intention from businesses to continue investing is much more heartening.

Overall it could be said to be a confusing and inconclusive picture, which perfectly sums up the times were are now living in.

From the mid-1990s up until late 2007 local, regional and national economies were on a long upward trajectory.

There were almost certainly things we weren’t happy with, but we can now very much look back on that period as ‘the good old days’.

It was perhaps fortunate timing that much of Liverpool’s economic renaissance from the dark days of the 1970s and 80s took place during that period. It gave us a resilience for the tough times that followed.

Certainly Liverpool One, which has been transformational for the city centre, was completed in the nick of time.

Since then we have endured a recession, a coalition Government that went full-throttle on austerity and then had to apply the brakes, a Referendum which to many peoples’ dismay saw us vote to leave the EU, and now a General Election.

It has been a terribly unsettling time for businesses large and small.

So what is remarkable is that, amid all the chaos, upheaval and uncertainty, many companies remain upbeat and optimistic for the future.

We know from our own export team how many local businesses are seeing Brexit as a golden opportunity to explore new markets.

There are more tough times ahead - more austerity, protracted Brexit negotiations, political and social upheaval at home and abroad - but the clear message from our members is we are ready to meet the challenges ahead. So bring it on.

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