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introduction VIEWPOINT


WELCOMING YOU TO insightMAGAZINE


Action must be taken to boost confidence


BUSINESS WEST Leigh Court, Abbots Leigh, Bristol BS8 3RA T: 01275 373 373 W:www.businesswest.co.uk


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EDITOR: Laura Ross E: laura.ross@businesswest.co.uk


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Firms in the West suffered a huge loss in business confidence during the first quarter of 2019, as Brexit uncertainty continues to weigh on businesses minds. The survey of approximately 500 firms


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FRONT COVER Sustainability goals for Bristol See page 18


from across Bristol, Bath, Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire also showed that UK sales during the period were down seven per cent on the previous quarter and eight per cent on the previous year. Despite the promise of a Brexit boost for exporters


due to a weaker pound, one-in-three exporters had lost orders due to Brexit uncertainty. The data suggests that customers overseas are hesitant to commit to new


spending, so long as they remain in the dark regarding the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU. Further to these key economic indicators businesses were asked a series of


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MANAGING EDITOR: Laura Blake T: 0121 765 4144 E: laura.blake@kempspublishing.co.uk


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questions regarding the government’s handling of Brexit. These showed that 69% of respondents thought that Government


communication regarding future trading relationships with 71 countries were inadequete. This included Japan, Canada, Mexico and Norway, which are currently covered by EU free trade deals. Brexit uncertainty was identified as the primary issue facing 82% of


businesses, whereas this time last year only 55% of businesses echoed this concern. It is clear that government needs to act to stabilise business confidence at


home and abroad. Action is needed to get businesses investing again and to convince customers overseas that the UK is a reliable and attractive place to do business. The Government needs to use time wisely between now and the new withdrawal date of 31 October.


PHIL SMITH MANAGING DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS WEST


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Business West Insight is produced on behalf of Business West by Kemps Publishing Ltd and is distributed without charge throughout the South West of England. The publisher is committed to achieving the highest quality standards. However, views expressed in the magazine are independent and while every care has been taken to ensure that the information it contains is accurate, the publisher cannot accept any responsibility for any omission or inaccuracies that might arise. This publication (or any part thereof) may not be reproduced, transmitted or stored in print or electronic format without the prior written permission of Kemps Publishing Ltd.


MAY/JUNE 2019 insight 3


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