Two thirds of firms expect rise in costs next year

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Nearly two thirds of British business are anticipating increased costs next year owing to the decline in the value of sterling, a survey shows.

Data from members of the British Chambers of Commerce survey found that 63 per cent expect costs to increase in the next 12 months.

This includes a quarter who expect costs to rise significantly. In comparison, only six per cent expect costs to decrease. Almost three-quarters of manufacturers and business-to-consumer firms anticipate costs increases, compared to 55 per cent of business-to-business firms.

Mark Goldstone, head of policy at West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “While businesses await answers on Brexit, and a return to a stronger currency, they must take steps to prepare for risk.

“Companies are feeling price pressures from sterling’s depreciation. Following on from the steps taken in the Budget to act on business rates, further actions are needed on the upfront cost of doing business, so that firms can alleviate currency pressures.

“Weak sterling reflects the current climate of political uncertainty and lack of clarity on the Brexit process. A clear strategy from government about the nature of the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU would go a long way to reassure and stabilise markets.”