Latest Updates From Surrey Chambers CEO – 15th June 2022
15th June 2022
We held an excellent graduation celebration last week for all the businesses that took part in our second Start-up Academy, and we are now looking forward to recruiting the next cohort. We are welcoming pre-starts and early start businesses (Up to 3 years) to take advantage of this invaluable support. They will benefit from a stellar group of presenters across 9 sessions at the Login Business Lounge, Camberley and at the end of the 9 months they will each have a fantastic set of resources to use for the future of their businesses. This was what one of the attendees said about the Academy:
“The Surrey Start Up Academy has helped me channel my energy and given me the focus I need to make my business successful. I have been trading for two years but most work is through word of mouth and referrals. I joined as I was looking to scale the business up. The wide range of speakers at the Academy provided insight into all the important subjects a start-up needs to know. It has been great networking, I have made some really good connections and friends, and since have joined the Chambers to continue the path to success.”
What is happening to GDP (the value of the economy)?
The fall of 0.3% in April, following a 0.2% decrease in March, highlights the increasing stress the UK economy is under. All main sectors have seen a fall in growth, the first time since January 2021. This decline is the inevitable outcome of surging inflation, supply chain disruption and widespread skills shortages. Businesses from all sectors are facing unprecedented rises in raw material costs, soaring energy bills, and wage pressures. The introduction of an increase to employer National Insurance Contributions in April has only further added to firms’ woes. This declining output comes off the back of two years of significant damage sustained by small businesses, whose weakened cash positions mean that they are in a far worse position to stomach further pressure. The global aspects to all these problems mean they are likely to weigh heavily on the UK’s prospects for growth for some time. Output in consumer-facing services increased by 2.6% in the month, reflecting increased consumer spend on hairdressing and food services. However, the sector remains below pre-pandemic levels, highlighting the significant damage sustained from shutdowns and restrictions.
What is challenging businesses now?
The most frequent concern we are currently hearing is around the difficulties of recruitment. An increasingly tight labour market means it’s much harder for employers to fill job vacancies – impacting on their ability to operate normally and retain skills in the business. With a new record set for the number of vacancies, and no easy way to fill them for many companies, labour shortages are starting to damage growth prospects. Despite recruitment difficulties, the damage to firms’ finances from soaring inflation and rising national insurance will limit the extent to which wages can continue rising. We need to find ways to bring people back into the labour market. Flexible working practices, rapid re-training opportunities and a focus on workplace health can support many economically inactive people to return to the workplace. But for some roles, where there is clear evidence of a national shortage of skills and labour, firms need access to people, at all skill levels, from outside the UK.