In the latest survey of business confidence in the chemical and pharmaceutical sector, companies are generally optimistic about the future. Nearly 90% of the businesses in the Chemical Industries Association Q3 survey expect sales to increase or remain at current levels in the next 12 months.
Three quarters of the companies expect to maintain or expand the current workforce, 95% will increase or hold current research & development investment and 80% expect capital expenditure to remain at current levels or grow.
Commenting on the figures, Steve Elliott, Chief Executive of the Chemical Industries Association said “These expectations show business leaders and their workforces across the sector continuing their hard work in making sure they can compete in an ever changing world. This is good news for the UK”.
The survey also asked business leaders to score 11 factors which made Britain a good or bad place to run a business. There were 3 positives - workforce skills, support services (such as distribution, engineering support, financial) and taxation. All the remaining factors were negative with energy costs, employers’ additional social costs (on top of wages) and the regulatory climate being the most negative. Other issues were primary labour costs, logistics (including exports), the attitude of regulators, planning regimes and the strength of the local market.
Steve Elliott said “Government in the UK and the European Union needs to look carefully at the design of industrial policy to ensure the concerns of business leaders – who are making investment decisions – are considered. Without urgent action on energy costs - where UK businesses face a huge price differential opposite their US competitors – and the European regulatory framework - still far too restrictive in terms of investment, jobs and growth - I fear the general optimistic outlook of our members will fade”.
Notes to Editors:
For an interview with Steve Elliott/further comment please call Simon Marsh on 07951 389197
The survey of CIA member companies was carried during the second half of October
Steve Elliott will address the annual dinner of the Chemical Industries Association on Thursday 21 November (later tonight)
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