Manufacturing and services firms in Lancashire have suffered weaker growth for the start of this year, the latest Quarterly Economic Survey from Lancashire’s Chambers of Commerce have shown.
The slower growth followed strong results in the final quarter of last year.
Unless support for exports and business investment is placed at the heart of any future government, consumption and government spending will continue to drive an economic recovery that is unbalanced and unsustainable
The new survey, compiled by the county’s three Chambers in association with Moore and Smalley Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors, revealed that most key balances had weakened in Quarter One, particularly those measuring export sales and investment, which are crucial to the rebalancing of the country’s economy.
The only exceptions to the general pattern of lower balances in the first quarter of the year were an improvement in employment expectations over the next three months, as firms in both sectors anticipate increased workforce levels.
There were also signs that inflation is likely to remain low as fewer firms faced pressure to increase prices.
The Quarterly Economic Survey is carried out by Chambers of Commerce across the UK and asks businesses a variety of questions to gain an indication as to how the economy and business is faring.
Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber, said: “These results are by no means a cause for alarm, but they are a salutary reminder that the UK still faces obstacles on the path to sustainable, long-term growth.
“Unless support for exports and business investment is placed at the heart of any future government, consumption and government spending will continue to drive an economic recovery that is unbalanced and unsustainable.
“With these results in hand, our message to the politicians is simple: the national interest must come before short-term political point scoring.
“Given that all parties agree that the UK needs to strengthen its trade performance, and that we need to encourage our businesses to invest more, these should be issues that unite - rather than divide – the parties over the weeks ahead.”