Policy Spotlight with Rhouda: Latest ONS Trade Figures

The latest GDP figures reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown a decrease as the Omicron wave hit in December, leaving retail and hospitality sectors seeing the biggest impacts.

Services output was down by 0.5% in December 2021 while production rose by 0.3% and construction rose by 2.0%. Despite the decrease in services output, both services and construction were above pre-pandemic levels. Output in consumer-facing services fell by 3.0% and this was mainly driven by a 3.7% decrease in retail trade while all other services rose by 0.1%.

Real gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have fallen by 0.2% in December 2021. The ONS report identified that businesses in the services sector were the main contributor to GDP’s 0.2% fall.

Sara Williams, CEO of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, said: “As the government continue to remove restrictions, it is essential that the right kind of support is provided to businesses. Firms in the hospitality and retail sectors faced great difficulties in the last quarter of 2021 and will continue to struggle under current circumstances with rising inflation, increasing national living wage, increasing national interest rates and rising energy costs.

“In the latest government announcement, it was revealed that households would be supported in dealing with rising energy bills. However, there was no mention of similar policies being put in place for businesses. We would urge government to act quickly so that the country can progress economically.”

Our first Quarterly Economic Survey for 2022 is now live and invites businesses to share their views on the challenges being faced within their industry. This is a great opportunity for us to get a better insight into how businesses have been impacted by recent government announcements and policies and what changes need to be made to help with the UK’s economic progression.

We want to represent businesses in the region. By filling out QES for Q1 of 2022 you can help shape and influence policy thinking. Data from the QES is shared with the British Chambers of Commerce, government departments and the Bank of England. Have your say by filling in the survey here.

Environmentally Conscious Staffordshire Campaign

Last week we were proud to launch our latest campaign in our ‘Environmentally Conscious Staffordshire’ series. Our carbon literacy campaign aims to support businesses develop a greater understanding of the ways in which they can measure their carbon footprint as well as the changes they can make in order to achieve the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

In order to provide the most effective business advice, we have partnered up with a few of our members to find out how they have managed to reduce their carbon footprint and create an environmentally friendly and sustainable business. To find out more, click here.

If you require any business support or advice, get in touch with Staffordshire Chambers of commerce on 01782 202222 or email info@staffordshirechambers.co.uk.

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