The very first Greater Peterborough Business Survey has found reasons to be cheerful as economic recovery in the city gathers pace
Prospects for the economy in Peterborough are looking good for the next 12 months, according to findings from the first Greater Peterborough Business Survey. Business health is poised to pick up as almost 60 percent of the 200 companies taking part in the survey expected to see profits increase over the coming year. Almost a third of those questioned planned to employ more staff.
There’s evidence that the city is continuing to recover from the recession
The results offer evidence that the city is continuing to recover from the recession, with a third saying there had been some improvement in business performance over the past 12 months and a further 42 percent proving particularly optimistic about prospects for the coming year.
The survey, jointly organised by city accountancy firm Rawlinsons and economic development company Opportunity Peterborough, was designed to gauge economic outlook in the Greater Peterborough area. Chris Collier, Senior Partner at Rawlinsons, presented the key highlights of the report at a recent Opportunity Peterborough Bondholder Breakfast: ‘The results give us a clear indication that there is more positivity in the market. Business people are more confident to invest in extra staff and are expecting increased profitability.’
Almost half of the respondents stressed the importance of a more dynamic local authority, cutting red tape and driving growth
The survey respondents came mainly from professional services, manufacturing, media, retail and construction. Over half had been operating in the city for more than 15 years with half employing up to five people and 31 companies employing 50 staff or more. The majority of respondents had turnover in excess of £500,000 with ten turning over in excess of £10 million.
‘It is clear that the recovery is still fragile, however,’ adds Chris. ‘Many respondents focused on problems with red tape, energy costs, squeezed margins and problems accessing finance to drive expansion.’ Asked about the key elements needed to attract more investment into the city and almost half of the respondents stressed the importance of a more dynamic local authority, cutting red tape and driving growth. Improved transport connections, including upgrading of the A14; the availability of office space/accommodation; available staff and vocational training programmes were also on business wish lists.
Next year’s survey will hopefully paint a picture of increased economic activity and optimism
‘A number of companies also mentioned the importance of developing the city’s university, and offering and improving superspeed broadband services to improve Peterborough’s marketability to external investors,’ says Chris. Neil Darwin, Chief Executive of Opportunity Peterborough, hopes to see this inaugural survey built upon in future years: ‘Although we’re seeing strong signals of recovery nationally and locally, this survey is another useful indicator of Peterborough’s economy standing firm. It’ll be interesting to compare the results year on year and we look forward to seeing respondents’ projected growth materialise.’ Indeed, the current plan is to repeat the Greater Peterborough Business Survey in order to measure progress on an annual basis. Next year’s survey will hopefully paint a picture of increased economic activity and optimism as business conditions continue to improve.