Chambers report mixed conditions for Yorkshire members

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Confidence among businesses in the region remains high according to the latest survey results from West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.

The survey for the first quarter of 2014 was conducted during February and March, and provides an indication of business conditions and trends.

Some 900 businesses were surveyed across Leeds, Bradford, York and North Yorkshire.

The survey highlighted further growth amongst service sector businesses both domestic activity and overseas trade across large parts of the region.

Confidence is also improving amongst manufacturers with 50 per cent reporting recruitment activity in the last three months, although finding the right talent is still proving difficult especially for skilled manual and technical staff.

The survey of business owners and directors showed however that concerns over business rates and increased competition remained key for business in our region.

Mark Goldstone, head of business representation and policy, said: “The year has got off to a good start but more needs to be done to ensure a ‘great’ recovery.

“Issues such as energy costs, access to finance and access to talent still need to be addressed.

“The manufacturing sector is a hugely important sector to this region with the value of exports out of Yorkshire & Humber at £17.5bn last year.

“We must ensure they have access to the widest possible talent base.

“The chamber will continue to work with policy makers, local authorities and education providers to ensure there is sufficient interest generated amongst young people, parents, schools and teachers about the opportunities a manufacturing career can offer.”

Meanwhile, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce has questioned whether the country is seeing the right type of recovery for sustainable growth, following the findings of a recent national survey.

Confidence amonge businesses in the Sheffield City Region continues to be mixed and manufacturing saw an unusually large drop in export sales and orders in the first three months of the year, compared with the last quarter of 2013, however there was an increase in UK sales and orders.

Employment expectations saw a slight reduction, while investment in machinery and training was a slight increase on last year’s final quarter. Cashflow continues to be low. However, turnover and profitability remain at very high levels, said the chamber.