Region’s businesses will need ‘extraordinary resilience’ in upcoming months

Greater Birmingham’s businesses will need to channel their “extraordinary spirit of resilience” to navigate the next few difficult months, says a new report published this week.

Paul Faulkner
Paul Faulkner

While regulatory approval has now started to be given to Covid vaccines, the latest quarterly business report from Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce demonstrates that businesses will still need short-term funding to get them through the next six months.

This issue will form part of an online briefing on the report, sponsored by Birmingham City Universit on Thursday at 8am.

Speakers include Birmingham City Council’s director of public health Justin Varney who will discuss what the latest Tier 3 restrictions will mean for businesses in the next few months.

He will be joined by Warwick Wakefield, customer services director at Flexeserve, industry leaders in the manufacturing and distributing heated displays.

He will discuss the steps that Flexeserve have put in place to weather the economic storm and looking ahead to 2021.

Paul Faulkner, the GBCC’s chief executive, said a second nationwide lockdown, a presidential election in the United States and the end of the Brexit transition period edging ever closer had marked “yet another tumultuous few months to cap off an extraordinary year”.

He added: “Our latest quarterly business report revealed that domestic demand among local firms continues to linger in negative territory. We also saw a pick up in export demand while recruitment levels remaining broadly consistent.

Fragile

“Business confidence is still understandably fragile, investment in capex and training remains subdued and of most concern, the majority of businesses in the region saw their cash flow levels worsen.

“It was no surprise to also see a greater number of firms facing increasing cost pressures as the fallout from the pandemic continued to bite.

“As we look ahead to next year, clearly there is hope on the horizon with a number of vaccines securing the regulatory approval required to hopefully usher a return to normality.

“Nevertheless, we understand the next few months are likely to be extremely difficult and businesses in the region will need to continue to channel the extraordinary spirit of resilience which has seen them navigate the last nine months.

“As a chamber, we will continue to inform local businesses on how they can access an array of Government support packages and lobby local and national stakeholders on their behalf. Ultimately, the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce exists to help connect, support and grow local businesses and that’s exactly what we will continue to do in order to Keep Business Moving during this unprecedented time.”

Part of the report included answers to a set of additional questions which aimed to gauge the short and long-term implications for businesses attempting to navigate the ongoing fallout from Covid-19 whilst the clock ticks down on the end of the Brexit transition period.

The results were clear – businesses in Greater Birmingham need short-term funding and support to help them get through the next six months. With the latest local restrictions likely to be in place until the spring, the rollout of the Local Restrictions Payment Grant and the Additional Restrictions Grant are going to be absolutely vital.

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