09 December 2016 Business Voice article
Voted Employer of the Year at the 2016 Growing Business Awards, field marketing agency Gekko’s managing director Dan Todaro says it’s about being fair and acknowledging that times have changed
3 August 2016
The UK’s small and medium-sized (SME) manufacturers saw a rise in the volume of output in the three months to July, but business optimism fell sharply amid ongoing uncertainty, according to the latest CBI Quarterly SME trends survey.
The survey of 472 firms reported that total new orders and new domestic orders were relatively unchanged, although firms expect these to fall over the next three months highlighting the need for action to raise confidence.
Business optimism fell at its fastest pace since January 2009 in the last quarter. Investment intentions in buildings, planting and machinery have been scaled back although looking ahead to the next 12 months, SME manufacturers intend to increase spending on product innovation and training for staff to help bridge the UK’s skills gap. And there was a rise in employment in the last quarter with the expectation that hiring will remain stable over the next.
Optimism about export prospects for the year ahead rose slightly, with SMEs reporting the first improvement in competitiveness in EU and non-EU markets since 2013. Although the volume of export orders fell again on the previous quarter – SMEs anticipate that they will rise in the coming quarter, after no increase since April 2014. However, the proportion of firms reporting political or economic conditions abroad as a factor likely to limit export orders over the next quarter climbed to a record high.
Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Director for Economics, said:
“The UK’s SME manufacturers reported higher production, more staff hired and now expect to sell more of their world-class goods overseas over the next quarter, with a weaker sterling having a hand in this.
“But overall they do feel less optimistic and are scaling back some investment plans in machinery and plants.
“Naturally, much of the concern is related to uncertainty and business wants to now see the new Government deliver a clear plan and timetable for the EU negotiations ahead, while cracking on with immediate domestic priorities, including a decision on new aviation capacity in the South East, which will help the UK’s SME manufacturers to reach new markets in the future.”
Key findings – three months to July
29 November 2016
Medium sized businesses met in the foothills of the Mourne Mountains for the 4th annual CBI Northern Ireland MSB Conference.
22 November 2016 Business Voice article
Ideas for building Britain’s prosperity from space science and robotics and connected cities were abuzz at this 2016’s CBI Annual Conference