Kent and Medway businesses looking to the future with optimism, local Business Summit survey finds

Published by Rhys Taylor-Brown on February 4th 2021, 11:11am

According to a survey of businesses attending the virtual Kent and Medway Business Summit, locally based firms are looking to the future with confidence despite the double-pronged impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit.

The survey of local businesses was carried out on January 15 by headline sponsors of the summit Kreston Reeves, an award-winning firm which specialises in accountancy, business and financial advice.

Andrew Griggs, senior partner at Kreston Reeves, commented: “The Kent and Medway Business Summit was held entirely virtually this year, attracting a fantastic range of businesses from across the county, plus a truly stellar line-up of speakers.

“The over-arching theme of the Summit was resilience and the positivity businesses in the county hold towards their future. Despite the impact of Covid and Brexit, businesses in Kent and Medway are confident in their ability to bounce back and thrive.

“With all the economic, social, technological and political changes and challenges we are experiencing, it’s important that businesses remember to talk to and support each other, continue to look for opportunities, remain agile, adapt and innovate. They must continue to look ahead and plan for the future.”

According to Locate in Kent’s summary of the survey’s findings, The Kent and Medway Business Summit survey uncovered that 67 per cent of the 59 local firms which responded are ‘confident’ for the future, with a further 26 per cent claiming to be ‘very confident’.

On Brexit, 30 per cent of companies say they have been affected, with supply chains posing the most significant challenge.

The survey also found that businesses have been affected by Brexit in other areas, including import and export of goods, workforce issues, transport and logistics, intellectual property, VAT and duty and contract review.

Meanwhile, 41 per cent have reported a significant decrease in turnover, with 26 per cent claiming that turnover has ‘decreased a little’ as a direct consequence of Covid-19.

Looking ahead to the March Budget, business leaders responding to the survey have also indicated that they would like to see chancellor Rishi Sunak encourage local spending, stimulate growth through tax incentives for entrepreneurs to invest, and for businesses to be able to retain profits and/or cash via enhanced allowances, lower corporation tax or a tax holiday.

Respondents were also in favour of the business rates relief being extended, or for business rates to be axed completely. There were also calls for a green growth strategy to be implemented in the county of Kent, grants to encourage new start-up companies, a phased removal of the furlough scheme to avoid an early 2021 cliff edge end to the initiative, and greater support for company directors.

Within their responses, directors also wanted to see a reduction of tax liabilities in the Budget for small and medium-sized enterprises which will encourage them to rent empty high-street units, a reduction of VAT to stimulate spending, and targeted support being provided for small retailers and a hospitality sector that has been long stricken by the health crisis.

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Authored By

Rhys Taylor-Brown
Junior Editor
February 4th 2021, 11:11am

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