Miranda Dobson

Member Article

Thames Valley firms weather the economic storm

Thames Valley-based firms have reported order increases and rises in new business pipelines in the last quarter.

BDO LLP has released figures that show 54% of companies saw improvements in the last three months, despite national business confidence falling to a 20 year low in August.

The Thames Valley Business Barometer, which BDO collates, showed that although firms in the region are more cautious and less confident that in the previous quarter, order books were fuller, and more new business relationships had been forged.

Organisations in the region reported higher levels of investment, especially into recruitment, training and development, with a view to building up workforce skills.

Business leaders also indicated they felt more positively about offering apprenticeships and work placement schemes.

Despite some positive feedback, fewer businesses (70%) thought the economy had improved, in comparison with 82% in the last quarter.

BDO and business community, the Twenties Club, surveyed 85 companies in the region, and 56% said finance had not become any easier to access, despite Government efforts to open up funding avenues.

52% of respondents said “Superfast Broadband” would be the most significant catalyst to business competition, while 49% said investment in apprenticeships was extremely important.

Julian Frost, Partner and Head of BDO in the Thames Valley,said businesses in the region were “weathering the storm.”

He continued: “The Thames Valley has a strong entrepreneurial spirit, boasting 45,000 SMEs, as well as many large multinational corporations.

“I think there is real determination, resilience and drive being displayed by many businesses here in the Thames Valley and that’s what the economy needs – confidence.”

Paula Elliott, managing director of the C8 Consulting, which runs the Twenties Club, urged businesses in the Thames Valley to get involved in the BDO barometer.

She commented: “The more organisations that get involved in our Business Barometer, the more able we are to gauge what is really happening for businesses in the Thames Valley.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Miranda Dobson .

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