The British Plastics Federation yesterday published its January Business Conditions’ Survey, and held its Council Meeting at the Bank of England to share views on business trends with the Bank and Department of Business, Innovation and Skills officials.
The key findings of the BPF Business Conditions Survey are:
• 70% of respondents are forecasting an increase in 2010 Sales Turnover. Most of them in the range +2-10%. However, respondents emphasized Sales Turnover in many sectors declined last year by 15-40%.
• 44% expected Export Sales to increase in 2010. Most of them expect increases in the 5-20% range. The reasons given were: favourable exchange rate; some recovery in overseas markets and new business.
• 59% of respondents expected their staffing levels to be unchanged in 2010. Last year many had reduced staff levels and introduced short time working. 31% of respondents planned to increase their staff, most of them by 2-15%.
• Obtaining finance from Banks was not a problem for most but over a third complained of high charges. Obtaining trade credit insurance continues to be a problem for 56% of respondents.
• On top company priorities for 2010 the highest were: finding new business; efficiency; preparing for the upturn and staff training.
Members of the BPF Council told Bank and BIS officials the following:
• The UK Housing market has slightly improved but is still quite depressed with mortgages hard to come by. The Government needs to consider how to stimulate it.
• Public sector construction work is expected to fade away after the General Election
• The Economy is seen as very fragile: with Banks not lending; the General Election; tax changes such as NICS discouraging spending and investment. 2010 will be unpredictable.
• The German Government’s support for flexible short time working was improved and has helped stabilise business there and keep skilled workers ready for a recovery. In the UK many workers have been made redundant.
• Although the loss of major firms overseas e.g. Dyson, Black & Decker is unlikely to be reversed, toolmaking is returning to the UK and there is in decision making on manufacturing location a greater awareness of: delivery time; supply chain and carbon footprint and the cost of capital on the high seas which could benefit the UK.
The President of the British Plastics Federation Paul Jukes said, “Meeting at the Bank was an important opportunity for the BPF to tell the Bank and BIS officials the experiences of the plastic industry businesses, who are key suppliers into all sectors of the Economy. We are by no means out of the recession. It will be a slow and arduous climb to recovery”
For a copy of the full survey results CLICK HERE