Rayner Essex accountants and business advisers along with Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry have recently published the findings of an extensive survey of some 126 businesses across Hertfordshire.

The survey was was completed during the last few weeks of May and covered
issues that included the wider economic and national policy environment, local business confidence and local level infrastructure and local government.

The findings reveal a slightly cautious but supportive viewpoint of central government policy. 53% of respondents believed the coalition governments’ policy is ‘about right’ and 25% seeing it as being too harsh.

The Government is seen as having the lead role to play in influencing a recovery in the UK economy. The second most important factor was an ‘increased willingness of the banks to lend’ whilst the entrepreneurial skills of business was seen as the next most important factor.

The survey showed that despite the troubles faced by the economy, respondents saw opportunities for business across all sectors.

Perhaps the most surprising findings related to turnover and profitability, where 65% anticipated a growth in sales turnover and 58% anticipating increased profitability.

The banks appear to have some way to go in restoring sentiment from business. The survey shows that banks were seen as passive by 33% of respondents, disinterested by 28% and supportive by only 27%.

Hertfordshire appears to be an attractive location to run a business with a resounding 87% seeing it as a good place to start a business with good national transport links. Local councils however, were seen as unsupportive of the needs of business by 52% of people with only 22% believing councils were supportive of business.

Commenting on the survey Rayner Essex Partner Antony Federer said:

“We are regularly asked by clients and contacts what we think is happening in the local economy and as such decided to partner with Herts. Chamber to complete this survey. The findings reveal a relatively optimistic picture amongst business which was perhaps something of a surprise and it would be interesting to see if this is reflected across the South East. The survey has been well received and we anticipate completing a similar exercise next year.”

Hertfordshire Chamber Chief Executive Tim Hutchings believes the results are in line with what he is seeing across the county.

“I am not surprised by these results. We have a strong business community in Hertfordshire that is pretty resilient and has acted swiftly to respond to changing economic conditions. However, national government and local government must provide on-going supportive for business to ensure we have a climate that values and rewards the entrepreneurial spirit of business.”