Keeping businesses up to date
Surrey Chambers of Commerce has been busy over the last couple of weeks providing updates and information for our members. Joining forces with Alliotts, Guildford based accountants, and Guildford Borough Council we brought together a fantastic collection of businesses helping employers to address Health & Wellbeing in the workplace. Eight speakers shared their speciality, delivering a wealth of knowledge and experience to local employers. Areas covered were research, prevention, compliance, digital world resilience and more. Alongside the speakers was a Partner Village making the few hours spent at the event really worthwhile.
We have continued with our updates on the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) changes and helped many businesses prepare for May 25th deadline when the new regulations came into play. A recent survey of our businesses found that many were yet to make any changes to meet the new requirements so we will be providing ongoing updates to try and keep our members safe.
The decision to keep interest rates on hold, while unsurprising, was the right decision given the loss of momentum suffered by the UK economy in the first quarter of this year and the downgrade to their 2018 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth forecast. That said, the limited lowering of its GDP growth and inflation forecasts over 2019 and 2020, and the hawkish tone of the minutes from the latest Monetary Policy Commission (MPC) meeting, suggest that the prospect of an interest rate rise this year looks to have been delayed, rather than discarded.
Within the Chambers we are worried that business investment is likely to be more sluggish than the Bank of England is currently forecasting, with the cost of doing business in the UK likely to weigh on investment decisions. With UK economic conditions subdued and inflation weakening, however, the case for a rate hike continues to look limited at best.
The preferred option would be for the MPC to opt for a sustained period of monetary stability. While interest rates will need to be normalised at some point, it should be done slowly so as not to weaken the UK’s growth prospects. Instead there should be a greater focus on lifting the UK out of its current low growth trajectory, including incentivising greater business investment and addressing the escalating burden of upfront costs facing UK firms.
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