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20 Jul 2022

Inflationary spiral is ‘unsustainable’ for businesses, says East Midlands Chamber

Commenting on the latest figures by the Office for National Statistics showing Consumer Prices Index inflation rose to 9.4% in the year to June 2022, East Midlands Chamber director of policy and external affairs Chris Hobson said: “With inflation rising for the ninth consecutive month, it’s clear that businesses are now truly under the cosh as they are being expected to absorb huge cost pressures.

“Access to energy, fuel, raw materials and people grows more expensive by the month – driven by both global and local factors – and these costs are being passed through the supply chain to continue squeezing households.

“Against this backdrop, it’s no wonder that a net 62% of East Midlands businesses have told us in our latest Quarterly Economic Survey they expect to be forced into raising their own prices over the coming three months.

“This is clearly unsustainable and yet we also know that with the energy price cap due to rise again in October, the situation will likely get worse before it gets better.

“It is vital that political upheaval doesn’t get in the way of the Government doing its job in taking action on the economy, and encouraging businesses to invest is central to this agenda.

“Our research shows investment intentions among East Midlands businesses in the second quarter of the year were down by 6% compared to the previous quarter for plant and machinery, and down by 3% for training. Meanwhile, despite two-thirds (66%) of companies attempting to take on new staff in the second quarter of the year, 82% of these struggled to fill these roles.

“Beginning a long-promised review of the skilled worker shortage occupations list to ease the incredibly tight labour market would be a start. The Autumn Budget must then be the main priority of the new Prime Minister and Chancellor – a chance for them to reset, rethink and get their house in order.

“This inflationary surge sits alongside a poor economic outlook and, unless the Government acts with urgency, the chances of a recession will only increase.”