Period of major economic growth forecast for the region following General Election, survey says

July 5, 2024

Nearly half of South West businesses believe the General Election will lead to significant economic expansion in the region over the next six months, a new survey has revealed.

Research commissioned by accountancy firm Monahans, which has seven offices in the region, shows 47% of business owners are confident that market conditions will now improve. Of these, 30% believe they will improve significantly. 

The findings follow a challenging year for many South West businesses, with 28% saying they have been forced to make redundancies over the last 12 months.

The 300-plus senior executives, managers and business owners who took part in the research named their three biggest challenges as inflation and rising operational costs (41%), energy prices (38%) and generating new business (26%).

However, for bosses of micro businesses completing the survey, generating new business had been a significantly harder, with 38% naming it as their biggest challenge.

While most firms expected these challenges to continue to be the primary obstacles to growth over the next six months and into next year, they are expected to ease, with those citing inflation and operational costs as a concern falling to 38% and energy prices and generating new Business going down to 27% and 26% respectively. 

Monahans partner and head of tax consultancy and corporate finance Dominic Bourquin, pictured, said: “The economy has yet to kick into gear following the Covid-19 pandemic, but the transition of government appears to be giving business owners and leaders a much-needed boost in confidence in the market over the next six months.”

He said there had been signs that this was already starting to happen before the election.

“Our research found that the regional economy is seeing strong growth within the finance, technology, construction, retail and professional services sectors,” he added.

“These are expected to play key roles in driving forward the post-election South West economy.”

However, there was some caution among the respondents, who were drawn from around 300 micro, small, medium, and large-scale enterprises across the region

“Just over one in three [35%] told us that they feel little will change in the economy following the General Election,” Dominic added.

“That is understandable in light of uncertainty about the direction of future economic policies, but we expect to see that one in three number fall over the next six months, as the market stabilises.”

The research was conducted by London-based Atomik Research, part of the 4Media Group, in June.

Monahans, whose services span corporate finance, tax consultancy, audit and payroll, has offices in Bath, Chippenham, Frome, Glastonbury, Trowbridge and Taunton.

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