Businesses concerned by inflationary pressures

A recently released economic survey conducted by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) shows that businesses are currently facing ‘unprecedented inflationary pressures.’

The survey of almost 5,500 firms reported strong evidence of an economic slowdown during the final quarter of last year. It also found businesses increasingly concerned about price pressures, with 66% of firms citing inflation as a key area of concern and 58% expecting their prices to increase in the next three months. Both figures were survey record highs.

Rising interest rates were also found to be a growing worry for the business community. Overall, 27% of firms said they were concerned about rising interest rates; this was up from 19% in the previous quarter’s survey. Last month, the Bank of England increased Bank Rate to 0.25% from a historic low of 0.1% and further monetary tightening is expected this year to combat an anticipated surge in inflation this spring.

Another survey, however, has highlighted an air of optimism across the SME sector. The research by Starling Bank found that more than two-thirds of all small business owners are confident for the year ahead. The survey also reported plans for record levels of business investment in 2022.