Newbury Business Today

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Newbury Business Today

Drop in business confidence due to looming Brexit

But Thames Valley firms still report solid per formance

BUSINESS performance in the Thames Valley has remained relatively strong despite a lull in economic confidence, according to the latest Thames Valley Busi- ness Barometer report published by accountancy firm BDO LLP and PR agency C8 Consulting. The survey, which was conducted between March and May, focused on economic confidence and business performance, as well as employee wellbeing. It revealed uncertainty surrounding Brexit has nega- tively impacted local busi- nesses, with 63 per cent stating that business confidence had dropped since late 2018. However, business perfor- mance over the previous six months remained relatively strong, with 36 per cent of respondents saying business pipeline has increased, 43 per cent seeing turnover rise and 51 per cent seeing profitability improve. Thames Valley employment has also remained stable – 80 per cent of respondents said their headcount had increased or stayed the same versus 80 per cent in September 2018. BDO LLP managing director David Brookes said: “It is hard to ignore Brexit. “It dominates the news cycle and national debate and this has evidently affected business confidence in the Thames Valley. “The latest Business Barom- eter has highlighted that many

companies have been tighten- ing their belts and that many longer-term projects and investment decisions have been deferred, at least for now.” He continued: “It’s not all doom and gloom, as more than half of the companies surveyed in the report expect profits to rise and headcount to grow in the next six months.” The latest survey also looked at the important issue of health and wellbeing in the workplace and asked companies in the Thames Valley how important they think this is for their busi- ness and their employees and how they are addressing the matter. According to the report, Thames Valley businesses recognise the importance of employee wellbeing, with 90 per cent of respondents agree- ing that as employers they have a responsibility to encour- age their employees to be healthy. The most common health and wellbeing initiatives provided by the surveyed companies included cycle to work or bicycle purchase schemes (54 per cent) and healthy food options at work (34 per cent). When asked about stress and mental health at work, surveyed companies said that informal discussions and appraisals (49 per cent) were the most common activities where the subject can be discussed. Only five per cent of respon-

dents had engaged in stress awareness days and just eight per cent offer stress coun- selling or mentoring programmes at work. For 48 per cent of respon- dents, sickness absence is an issue for the effective day-to- day operation and productivity of their organisation, while 71 per cent said that the financial benefits of spending money on their employees’ health and wellbeing outweigh the cost to the business. However, the survey found only 56 per cent of respondents feel that they have an effective health and wellbeing programme in place. C8 Consulting founder and managing director Paula Elliot said: “The special focus of employee wellbeing in this report acts as an important conversation starter for busi- nesses, as stress and mental health continues to put strain on companies. “We are experiencing a burnout culture where work- related stress is the largest cause of absence. “We hope the latest Barome- ter is eye-opening for busi- nesses and encourages employ- ers to explore their options and consider the ways they can support their employees.” More than 100 businesses across the Thames Valley took part in the Barometer survey. To download the Thames Valley Business Barometer spring 2019 report visit the BDO or C8 Consulting websites.

Savills staff at the clear up on the beach in Dorset

Savills volunteers rule the waves SAVILLS employees from Newbury, Salisbury and Wimborne got together to clean Hengistbury Head near Bournemouth last month. rangers who were grateful for the volunteers’ work and also sent the data back to the MCS for their research. Britain’s beaches litter free for all to enjoy for generations to come.” Savills rural division is running a Time for the Environment campaign

Rosanna McCorkell from the rural team at Savills Newbury said: “It was great to get volun- teers from across the South and from many different departments coming together to help tackle pollution in the sea. “We hope our efforts will encourage others to keep

throughout 2019, in which the business undertakes activities to help improve the environ- ment. The teams have been involved in a number of beach cleans across the country, with several still to come.

A volunteer from the Maine Conservation Society (MCS) led 47 volunteers from the estate agent, who collected 2,820 pieces of litter and a total 23.5kg of waste. The figures were reported to the Hengistbury Head beach

Difficult conditions for manufacturers SOUTH East manufacturers are experiencing far more difficult trading conditions as they enter the autumn as a survey shows the impact of the uncertainty of Brexit dragging on. According to the Q3 Manufac- turing Outlook survey published by Make UK, The Manufacturers’ Organisation orders have remained positive, they fell dramatically compared to the second quarter. Output growth reduced from 42 per cent to six per cent in the last quarter, while the order balance, despite being positive, has also reduced significantly. This would fit with the national picture of output continuing to decline from the first half of the year which was boosted by artificial stockpil- ing reaching record levels. Export orders also fell in the South East despite a cheaper pound as overseas customers move away from British goods and the global slowdown and trade wars take effect. Intentions to recruit and invest have both turned nega- tive, showing that the region can’t escape the Brexit and trade uncertainty which is hurting other regions. and business advisory firmBDO LLP, while both output and total

‘No-deal Brexit could cost Newbury 1,300 jobs’ AN advertising campaign was launched in Newbury to highlight the possible impact of a no-deal Brexit on local jobs. The report suggests no- deal could cost 745,000 people in Britain their jobs. nationwide

campaign against a no-deal Brexit, which emphasises the real life impact it could have on the NHS, manufacturing industry, Britain’s farmers, public services and the wider economy. 38 Degrees campaigns director Ellie Gellard said: “A no-deal Brexit could see hundreds of thousands of people across the country lose their jobs, as barriers to trade hurt British industry. “Whether we voted Leave or Remain, no one voted for a very difficult time of their lives. It is important to me that people receive a person- alised service that best meets their particular needs. “The additional training I’ve received as part of this accreditation process has developed my skills and knowledge further, enabling me to deliver the best possi- ble service to my clients.” Mr Gardner is an associate

this. “With the Prime Minister failing to rule out a damag- ing no-deal and with so much at stake, it’s vital that MPs who could help stop this hear from their constituents. “That’s why voters in Newbury and across the country are being invited to send a message to their MP – do everything in your power to stop a no-deal Brexit.

A mobile billboard circu- lated in Newbury over two weekends last month. The 38 Degrees campaign highlights what a no-deal Brexit could mean for voters in Newbury and invites them to contact Richard Benyon MP to ask him to do every- thing he can to stop the UK leaving the EU without a deal on October 31. The risk to local jobs is just one focus of 38 Degrees’ developed to ensure that vulnerable people and those supporting them, going to the Court of Protection, are represented by experts with a depth of understanding of the complexities involved in representing clients who lack mental capacity. Mr Gardner said: “I’m very conscious of the sensitive nature of our work and that we often encounter people at

It was based on a report which claims a no-deal Brexit could cost up to 1,300 people their jobs in the Newbury parliamentary constituency. The figures, published by the UK Trade Policy Obser- vatory, are estimates of the size of the Brexit economic shock in each constituency, equivalent to job losses. THE Law Society has accredited one of Newbury law firm Coffin Mew’s lawyers with a qualifica- tion that recognises a high standard of care for vulnerable clients. Spencer Gardner is the only solicitor in Berkshire, Hamp- shire, Sussex and Dorset with this Law Society mental capacity accreditation. The accreditation was

“We didn’t vote to ‘take back control’, for people in Newbury to be put out of work.” Lawyer gains Law Society mental capacity accreditation

solicitor in Coffin Mew's Vulnerable People and Court of Protection team. The team is part of the Care and Protection sector group and looks after the welfare and safeguarding of the finan- cial affairs of those suffering from mental incapacity due to learning difficulties, old age and mental illness or as a result of an accident or medi- cal negligence.

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