Declan’s Policy Update: QES – Measuring economic performance

Last week, we hosted a business round table meeting at Commerce House, with the Bank of England joining a cross-section of local business owners to discuss the performance of the economy. 

We brought together a mix of business sectors including manufacturing, housing, transport, financial services and logistics.

In the last few years, recruiting the right calibre of staff has been a real challenge against the backdrop of a very tight labour market.  During the meeting, there was broad agreement that recruitment is less of an issue for the more general roles within a business. However, selecting the right calibre of candidate for more specialist roles, continues to be a headache.

Housing rents continue to soar in areas like Stoke-on-Trent, with strong demand for rental properties showing no sign of easing.   During last week’s meeting, we heard that the slowdown in the new-build housing market has led to a slowdown in the haulage sector, with reports of some haulage firms going out of business.

There were a number of economic headlines last week.  On Thursday, The Bank of England opted to hold the rate of interest at 5.25%.  There is ongoing speculation that a cut in the rate of interest may be around the corner.    Friday saw the release of ONS figures to indicate a 0.6% growth in the economy during the first three months of the year, effectively lifting the UK out of recession.

It’s fair to say that it’s been a challenging few years for the economy, against the backdrop of a pandemic, eye-watering inflation and wars in Ukraine and the Middle East.   We’re keen to get your view of business performance, as we roll out our latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES).   The QES is the UK’s longest running independent business survey and is widely recognised by The Bank of England as being a valuable measure of how the economy is performing.

All 53 Chambers’ of Commerce across the UK, will be asking businesses in their regions to take part.  Results are compiled and shared with the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), who will publish an overall summary of national results.  Here at Staffordshire Chambers’, we’ll be analysing results in the county and making both regional and national comparisons.

The QES comprises just 24 questions, most of which have a simple tick box response.  It takes no more than 60 seconds to complete and by taking part, you’ll help to paint a picture of local and national economic performance.  We’re keen for QES responses to be reflective of a wide mix of business sectors and business sizes.  Please spare us a minute of your time.  Your response can be really valuable.  Click here to open QES – Q2, 2024.