Competition, taxation and inflation are biggest fears

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Competition, inflation and corporate taxation are among the biggest concerns for businesses in Thames Valley, a national survey suggests.

The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) Quarterly Economic Survey shows progress has been made in the first quarter of this year, but some mountains remain to be climbed before the economy is back on track says the Thames Valley Chamber.

Clair Prosser, policy executive for the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce, said: “More than 68 per cent of responding companies report that export sales, orders and advance bookings have increased.

“This reflects the strong international trade position of the South East and Thames Valley region in particular.”

She said members’ turnover and profitability improved over the past three months, and that the majority expected turnover and profitability to carry on improving.

But when asked which factors were of greater concern, the highest responses were for competition, inflation and corporate taxation.

Ms Prosser added: “The surge in the service sector’s export balances suggests that pessimism over UK exports is unjustified. However, the UK is increasingly becoming a largely service sector economy and developing the export potential of the service sector is critical to our future long-term prosperity.

“We need a two-pronged strategy that combines a commitment to cutting the deficit, with a relentless drive to boost growth and the economy’s productive potential.”

The independent survey, published last week, was based on responses from more than 7,000 businesses in the manufacturing and service industries.