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Call to boost exports as figures reveal low business expectations

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More support is needed to boost UK exports, according to a Sheffield business leader.

The call follows the recent British Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) which assessed business confidence in the Sheffield City Region within the manufacturing and services sectors for the second quarter of 2014 (April to June).

It revealed that export sales and orders within services had dropped significantly and that while manufacturing was slightly up on the previous quarter, it remained at very low levels.

For the period between April and June 2014, the services sector in the city region saw UK sales and orders, employment expectations, turnover and profitability remain the same as the first quarter of the year.

There was a slight reduction in investment of machinery and training, but cash flow increased.

Manufacturing performed marginally better with exports the only blot on a set of positive results, which saw an increase in UK sales and orders, employment expectations, and cashflow, with turnover and profitability rising to all-time highs. Investment in machinery and training remained static. 

Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said:

“The export figures for both manufacturing and services continue to be too low if the Sheffield City Region is to play its part in the country’s economic recovery.

“From all the businesses which responded to the survey, more than 60 per cent are exporters.

“This not only needs to be increased, but those that are exporting must do more internationally.

“The trade deficit has narrowed compared to 2013, but that was due to a fall in imports rather than a growth in exports.

“Now is the time to build exports, not only to help bring the deficit down even further, but to create sustainable wealth for businesses to grow.

“We received great feedback following the Global Manufacturing Festival in June and organised visits to Sheffield from key Overseas Business Network individuals.

“We hope this continued activity of support will spark a rise in exports to key markets in the coming months and years.

“However, the business landscape can be supported by the Government keeping a hold of the rise in sterling, which is making UK exports more expensive, as well as clarifying the uncertainty around interest rate increases.”

For more information about the QES results for the Yorkshire region from over the last decade, go to www.economicsurvey.org.uk and for more detail about Sheffield Chamber of Commerce visit www.scci.org.uk. 

Richard Wright
Richard Wright

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