Latest survey reveals ‘slowdown’ in Lancashire’s economic recovery

MONEY: Consumer spending remains high despite other disappointing results
MONEY: Consumer spending remains high despite other disappointing results
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Lancashire’s economic recovery seems to have stalled, according to figures out today.

The results of the latest Quarterly Economic Survey from the Chambers of Commerce have revealed a further slowdown in the Lancashire economy during the second quarter of 2015.

The new survey, compiled by the county’s three Chambers in association with Moore and Smalley Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers, shows that most key economic balances have remained static or worsened.

The manufacturing sector has had a particularly disappointing three months.

The only exceptions to the general pattern of lower balances in Quarter Two was the rise in service sector domestic sales and orders, giving further evidence that consumer spending continues to be the main driver of the UK recovery.

However, despite the general slowdown in Quarter Two, the survey also found a high level of confidence that turnover and profitability will improve over the coming year, and there are also signs that firms intend to increase investment.

The results were revealed in full during a business breakfast and networking event at Preston’s College this morning.

North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Babs Murphy said: “The Quarter Two results highlight some major challenges facing Lancashire businesses.

“Perhaps uncertainty caused by the General Election campaign had some impact on recruitment and investment decisions.

“However, continuing problems in the Eurozone, along with slower economic growth in the USA and China, are undoubtedly giving exporters cause for concern.

“It is clear that the UK recovery remains unbalanced and growth is still too reliant on consumer spending.”

Stephen Gregson, corporate finance director at Moore and Smalley, said: “I would advise very strongly against both being too cock-a-hoop when we have a strong set of quarterly results - but also don’t be too pessimistic if they have weakened a little.

“To a degree, we appear to be in an era of ‘ebbs and flows’ in the QES.”