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Mon 23rd Sep 2019 - Business confidence among sector leaders at lowest for two years as Brexit fears mount
Business confidence among sector leaders at lowest for two years as Brexit fears mount: Business confidence among the leaders of Britain’s pub and restaurant groups has taken a hit amid fears about the long-term impact of Brexit – pushing market optimism to its lowest ebb for two years. The downturn is revealed in the latest quarterly Business Confidence Survey from insights firm CGA in association with hospitality software provider Fourth. The study indicated less than one-third (30%) of industry bosses are optimistic about prospects for the general market – down 9% on the previous survey three months ago. The figure is the lowest since November 2017 and the joint lowest since the EU referendum in June 2016. Operators’ confidence in their own businesses has also dipped in recent months. Less than three-fifths (58%) of leaders are optimistic about their firm’s prospects in the next 12 months – down 7% from the last poll to the lowest point since late 2017. The survey spotlighted Brexit as the overwhelming source of pessimism and revealed leaders are concerned about the long-term as well as immediate impacts of leaving the EU. Although more than two-fifths (44%) gave uncertainty around Brexit as their leading concern, more than half (52%) cited the potential consequences of departure as their biggest worry. Almost three-quarters (74%) of leaders said they were concerned about increased food costs post-Brexit and nearly as many are worried about increased labour costs (72%) and a fall in consumer confidence (67%). CGA group chief executive Phil Tate said: “This is a sober message to the government from the country’s pub, bar and restaurant operators. It’s clear the long-term consequences of Brexit are front of mind in the industry at the moment and leaders don’t regard this as simply a short-term problem. There is an urgent need for clarity around Brexit’s impact on areas such as imports and the labour market, and this sector deserves support that reflects its enormous contribution to the UK’s economy.” Fourth chief executive Ben Hood added: “In an industry known for its positivity, energy and a can do, will do culture, our latest leaders’ survey is telling. Brexit and the prevailing uncertainty is clearly and understandably weighing on the sector. With consumer confidence starting to tick down as well, these findings should sound the alarm in Westminster that Britain’s resilient, dynamic and world-class hospitality sector needs government to deliver clarity and a workable departure that protects our best interests.”


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