The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has today published the results from its latest Monthly Business Survey.
The results from over 400 businesses across the UK show deteriorating relationships with local bank managers, major disappointment with the Government’s VAT cut, and an increasingly pessimistic mood on turnover prospects.
With cash-flow a serious problem, over a quarter of businesses will be reducing working hours in the next three months.
The key findings include:
76% of respondents felt that the VAT cut had been of no benefit to their business, while nearly a fifth claimed the cut had actually been a burden.
43% of businesses expected their turnover to fall up to 50% over the next three months.
Less than half of respondents (45%) stated that their local bank manager understood their business needs and tried to accommodate them.
28% of businesses answered that they would be reducing working hours over the next three months.
Commenting on the results, Steve Hughes, Economic Adviser to the BCC, said: "The dangers facing the business community are plain to see in these results. Confidence in the economy is non-existent, and this requires an incisive response from government. “Some of the government’s initiatives have been gratefully received, but the £12.5 billion VAT cut at the centre of the fiscal stimulus would clearly have been better spent elsewhere. "When the Chancellor gives his Budget in April, it must include measures to ease cash-flow difficulties and promote the retention of jobs. Cutting National Insurance Contributions, freezing the minimum wage and slashing business rates would all help hard-pressed businesses."