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London Business Matters

February 2017 Your business 5 Now is the time to rise to the economic challenge Businesses need government support to continue to weather an uncertain storm, new research from London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has found. The latest Capital 500 Quarterly Economic Survey carried out by Com- Res on behalf of LCCI found that businesses had shown resilience following the uncertainty delivered by the referendum, but LCCI believes a boost is still needed from the government. This should include support to deal with airport capacity constraints, rising business costs, and pressing skills shortages, all which are vital for London to remain globally competitive. LCCI chief executive Colin Stanbridge said: “In 2017 we expect Article 50, the starting gun for negotiations on the UK’s relationship with the EU, to be triggered. Much remains uncertain and with so much happening in the wider world, be it a new administration in the US or elections in Europe, and with lower growth and inflation a possibility in 2017, it has never been so important to focus on efforts to strengthen the foundations of London’s economy and its ability to deal with the challenges.” Key findings • Domestic Domestic demand figures bounced back during Q4 2016, but remain negative overall as more businesses reported a decline than an increase in domestic sales and orders. • Export Export demand continued to decline during Q4 2016, with both sales and orders reaching their lowest recorded Capital 500 level. The balance figures for both export sales and export orders saw a one point drop, and have now been declining for three consecutive quarters. • Labour market The Capital 500 employment figures picked up during Q4 2016, following record lows in the previous quarter. The balance for employment levels over the last three months remained negative but increased by four points compared to Q3 2016. Expectations for the next quarter also improved as, on balance, four per cent of businesses expect their workforce to grow, up two points on last quarter. • Recruitment and training Following a decline during the previous two quarters, there has been an increase in the number of companies planning to invest in training during Q4 2016.  • Business costs  For all analysed business costs, more companies reported an increase than a decrease during Q4 2016. By far the largest cost increases were reported for energy and fuel: the balances for the cost of energy and fuel both rose. • Cashflow and investment  Capital 500 companies’ cashflow position remained negative during Q4 2016, but improved compared to last quarter. On balance, two per cent of businesses reported a decrease, and the balance figure is now back on the same level as in the last poll before the Referendum. • Business confidence  Capital 500 companies’ expectations for the next 12 months stabilised during Q4 2016. The balance figures for both turnover expectations and profitability expectations remained overall positive. While micro businesses, on balance, remained pessimistic about their company’s prospects a more positive figure was recorded for larger businesses. • Economic outlook  Following five consecutive quarters of declining balance figures, there has been an uptick in expectations for the UK as well as the London economy, although both remain in negative territory. www.londonchamber.co.uk/ Capital500 2016 Q4 2016 CAPITAL 500: QUARTERLY ECONOMIC SURVEY Q4 October - December 2016 Congestion charge – reform needed Responding to the London Assembly Transport Committee report ‘London Stalling’ released last month, LCCI chief executive Colin Stanbridge said:  “There is no question that congestion in London needs to be seriously addressed on a number of levels and this report is potentially a very welcome contribution to the debate with some good ideas. “We have said that the Transporting gold, gemstones & jewellery since 1995. Call: 020 3393 2004 Email: london@securitydrivers.co.uk Visit: www.securitydrivers.co.uk London | Glasgow | Paris | Cannes congestion charge no longer serves the purpose for which it was created and would not oppose targeted charging in principle. However our concern would be that businesses are not used as a money-spinner and any new scheme takes into account the economic value of a journey, meaning that the use of public transport is encouraged but businesses are not punished when alternatives are not available. Excessive new congestion charging on delivery vehicles will end up reflected in prices that customers will pay.” Click/tap for more info


London Business Matters
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