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City business confidence bucks the national trend, according to annual survey

Business confidence in the local economy is up according to the findings of the 2018 Greater Peterborough Business Survey, produced by Rawlinsons in association with Opportunity Peterborough.

Over half of the businesses responding to the annual survey reported increased performance over the last 12 months with 64% confident that the next 12 months will see further improvements – that is up 10 per cent on the previous year.

This belief in the local economy is mirrored by the fact that almost 1800 new businesses started up in Peterborough during 2017 – up 11 per cent over the last three years.

Approximately 150 local businesses took part in the annual survey, designed to test the temperature of the economic water in Greater Peterborough.

The local optimism is not typical of the national picture with a recent report by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales showing a more negative outlook.

“It’s pleasing to see such confidence from Peterborough businesses in this year’s survey. It’s reflective of the optimism we’re seeing at a city level through more investment being made in Peterborough at sites like Fletton Quays, Peterborough Gateway and Red Brick Farm,” said Steve Bowyer, Chief Executive of Opportunity Peterborough.

“With a further £9.74m investment confirmed for the new university campus and £30m plans to bring full-fibre gigabit connectivity to nearly every home and business in Peterborough, there are plenty of reasons to feel confident. That being said, there are challenges, particularly around skills and property, and we’d welcome further engagement from businesses so we can better support their growth, and the city’s economic development, added Steve.

Other business survey outcomes included:

  • 40 per cent of businesses expect to invest in more staff
  • 33 per cent said Brexit had a negative impact on expectations
  • 50 per cent of businesses find it difficult to recruit the right staff
  • 78 per cent expect operating costs to increase

The main obstacles to growth remain the availability of skilled workers; price pressure from customers and competitors and rising overheads and increasing utility costs.

This year’s survey represented over 7,000 employees and over 1,600 years of business experience. The wide variety of respondents provided a cross section of the city’s business community – from small start-ups to major corporates.

The 2018 report also incorporates the thoughts of experts in their fields across retail, start-ups, mergers and acquisitions, skills, banking and finance, the circular economy, recruitment and commercial property – offering a broad spectrum of views to help determine the real temperature of the economic water in Peterborough.

“The level of positive expectation for 2018 has risen significantly and therefore if Peterborough business can deliver on those expectations, we can look forward to an even more successful year ahead,” added Mark Jackson, Senior Director at Rawlinsons

For a full copy of The Greater Peterborough Business Survey, please click here.

If you have any queries please contact Joanna Bacon at Rawlinsons on 01733 568321 or Joanna.bacon@rawlinsons.co.uk.