‘Business confidence took a knock amid EU Referendum’ says Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce

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The Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce says a survey for the second quarter of the year has produced “largely disappointing results”.

Steven Leigh, Chamber head of policy, said the decision to leave the European Union means there are significant implications for businesses and for the economy.

He said: “During the Referendum campaign it became apparent that many people had become thoroughly disenchanted with the whole process.

“Of more concern for the UK was that referendum activities had created a stifling effect on the normal work of Government.

“This was understandable due to the uncertainty surrounding the possible consequences of the poll, and this uncertainty has manifested itself in the business sentiments which have been expressed in our survey.

“Business confidence has taken a knock, and it is apparent that many investment decisions have been left on hold awaiting the Referendum result.

“This uncertainty and lack of business confidence has also affected employment levels and home and export sales, although order intake has been quite good during the quarter,

“But the fact is that business activity was effectively treading-water during the Referendum period – particularly as the polling day became closer.

“Immediately after the Referendum, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) began working hard to achieve three basic objectives; to help stabilise the economy, to clarify the developing situation through effective communications; and to try to influence the actions which are being taken in the short-term.

“The decision taken for the UK to leave the EU is of huge importance, and we must trust the Government negotiators to secure the best possible outcome from the negotiations and transitions which lie ahead.

“But these EU decisions and actions should run parallel with the other political projects which are already underway.

“In meetings with Government ministers the BCC has emphasised that the UK economy can’t afford further parliamentary inaction, and they have sought reassurances that this will not be the case.”

Mr Leigh said urgent decisions must be made on issues including airport expansion in the south of the country, energy generation and National Grid investment, house building, the further reform of Business Rates, progress on HS3, electrification of northern railway lines, other road and rail enhancement projects, regional devolution and the future of basic industries upon which other businesses depend.

He added: “These decisions will be necessary in order to support businesses that are working hard to sell their products and create wealth – often under difficult trading conditions.

“These important improvements, particularly to the infrastructure, will be necessary to support sustainable economic growth for the UK in the years ahead, and our Government simply cannot afford to take their eye off the various balls which are currently in play.”