Since Lockdown started, Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce (DACC) has carried out extensive research, gathering over 3,600 responses from local businesses on the key economic issues impacting their organisations.
This is the first publication of the Dundee & Angus Chamber Economic Indicator Report, exploring what business is telling us and what that means for our local economy.
Every quarter we will host a live conversation to hear about how business is looking to the future, learn how the Chamber is ensuring that business voice
is heard, your concerns are listened to by local and national policymakers, and understand how your business can weather economic storms.
Following the Invest in Dundee event early in 2020, DACC presented the results of its Q1 Chamber Economic Indicator, reporting high levels of local business optimism year on year, quarter on quarter. Business told DACC that they expected 2020 to bring level values of orders and revenue, while nearly a quarter expected Scottish orders to increase. Due to wage pressures and prices of raw materials, 34% of businesses expected to increase their prices during 2020. Competition, business costs, inflation and taxation were all more of a concern to businesses than they had been in the previous quarter of 2019.
Above all, in Q1 2020, the Chamber was calling for the right environment to stimulate and sustain business growth. Looking back, not one of the speakers at that breakfast on 5th March 2020 foresaw the catastrophic impact that Covid-19 would have on businesses, the economy and jobs to the extent that we are now experiencing.
This report contains information on business revenue, orders, operating capacity, optimism and the factors that are increasingly important to businesses.
Business sentiment is turning positive however we must balance that with a continued support environment which protects job losses in the remainder of 2020 and beyond.
This inaugural business and economic survey covering Dundee and Angus has coincided with the most challenging period for business in many years, if not decades. It was, therefore, ideal to get so many responses which have given us a really valuable insight into how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected businesses in this area, and the particular challenges and opportunities which have appeared.
The report was compiled with Dr Shona Dobbie, Angus Economics who commented “We have seen strong evidence of the severe impact of the lockdown on revenue and orders, and the associated challenge to profits and cash flow. Firms with a high level of overheads will have found the last few months particularly tough and profitability, and business sustainability, could continue to be burdened if we move into a protracted re-opening phase in which social distancing remains the norm.
But our survey has produced some very positive results too. Some local firms have managed to find opportunities to sell additional products, or to reach a wider audience through on-line sales and delivery services. And, on balance, firms across the region are turning more positive with regard to their forecasts for revenue and future orders which, if accurate, will in turn help to boost investment and protect employment.”
DACC CEO Alison Henderson said
“We’ve done a great deal of research with local businesses over the years however we’ve never had a greater response, and that coincides with a time of significant need for business support.
Government have already done much to alleviate impacts on business, however fiscal policies must continue to act swiftly to minimise economic shocks and we call on the UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak to reduce costs on business, to deliver further economic stimulus via investment and drive the policies which will help local projects deliver local economic benefits.
Our Tay Cities Deal is languishing in a queue of much needed investment announcements. Every hour of delay brings crippling uncertainty and problems for all the project owners. We must see swift movement on this government commitment to our region.”