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East Midlands Chamber News

East Midlands organisations invited to complete survey on business confidence

Businesses in the East Midlands have been invited to take part in a survey that will offer an insight into how the region’s economy is faring during the Covid-19 recovery.

East Midlands Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES), which for Q3 2020 is being run in partnership with The Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), is now available for business owners and leaders to complete.

The previous survey, for the second quarter of the year, highlighted the devastating impact of coronavirus on the region’s economy, with respondents reporting an unprecedented decrease in domestic and overseas sales, order books, cashflow and staffing levels.

Scott Knowles, chief executive of East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), said: “Following the most uncertain quarter on record for the QES, the responses we receive for the Q3 survey will show how businesses from different sectors are faring as the economy continues its reopening, as well as highlighting the extent of the longer-term challenges and opportunities for businesses in the East Midlands.

“The survey provides one of the most comprehensive insights into the region’s economy – invaluable intelligence that helps us to understand what the picture in the East Midlands really looks like when speaking to politicians in Westminster.

“It’s great to have the Midlands Engine Investment Fund on board for the latest survey as this will help us identify the types of financial support that are most in demand.

“At a time when cashflow for many is challenged and yet investment has never been more important, the Fund is also going to play a huge role in helping the region realise its undoubted potential once we come out the other side of the pandemic.”

Lewis Stringer, senior manager at the British Business Bank, which runs the MEIF in partnership with 10 local enterprise partnerships, added: “During this challenging time, it’s important to understand from the region’s businesses which types of finance are in highest demand and ensure that they are aware of all the funding options available to them.

“External finance can provide small businesses with working capital and help support cashflow, helping to ensure that they can still achieve their growth plans. We look forward to partnering with the Chamber on this QES.”


What is the Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey?

The survey takes between five and 10 minutes to complete, featuring questions about sales and orders, cashflow, confidence in anticipated turnover and profit, investment intentions and workforce changes.

Additional questions will be asked in this edition of the QES about topics including access to finance and anticipated obstacles to running a business in the next 12 months.

Results are anonymised and used to shape and inform business policy made by local and national Government, as well as to identify specific support and opportunities for the East Midlands.

They also feed into the British Chambers of Commerce QES, the largest and most representative independent business survey of its kind in the UK.

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund partnered with the Chamber for the latest survey after previous editions of the QES identified a reduction in cashflow as being a particular issue in the region.

The MEIF, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, provides commercially-focused finance through small business loans, debt finance, proof of concept and equity finance loans. It aims to transform the landscape for smaller businesses in the Midlands and to realise the region’s potential to achieve economic growth through enterprise.


QES Q2 survey results highlighted devastating impact of Covid-19 on East Midlands Economy

The Chamber models the survey data across a range of key performance indicators to produce a quarterly State of the Economy Index, which enables it to compare local business performance quarter-by-quarter.

In Q2, the score fell to -411, its lowest level on record and the first time it has fallen into negative territory. It was the mirror opposite of the +411 peak that it reached in Q2 2014.

Other notable results for the three months to June 2020 included:

  • A net 67% of firms reported a decline in UK sales, while 50% saw a fall in export sales
  • Order books took a hit as a net 55% reported a fall in UK orders for Q3, while for exporters the fall was a net 46%
  • 36% of respondents said they had reduced headcount in Q2, with only 4% increasing their workforce numbers
  • With the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme starting to phase out in Q3, a further 34% anticipated more staff reductions in the following three months.

The QES Q3 survey deadline is 14 September. To take part, click here.