Chamber column: 'Positive signs for Rugby economy as we head towards the end of 2023'

Karen Shuter, chair of the Rugby branch of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, writes a regular column for the Rugby Advertiser. Here is her latest column.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

It is difficult to believe that we are powering towards the end of 2023 and, with that, we begin to look ahead to Christmas and the new year.

Judging the outlook for 2024 is extremely difficult because there are some positive signs for the economy but, equally, still many issues that businesses across our area are facing that make it hard to look forward with certainty.

Colleagues at the Chamber recently met with the Bank of England and it is forecasting that inflation will drop to around five per cent by the end of this year, which is a much better position than we were in 12 months ago.

Karen ShuterKaren Shuter
Karen Shuter

Unemployment remains low and yet economic output (GDP) is stagnant.

The latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) among companies across Coventry and Warwickshire does, however, offer a ray of hope for the coming months.

It showed that confidence in both the service and manufacturing sectors had risen and this means a more positive outlook for the regional economy.

The survey is delivered in partnership with Prime Accountants Group and is analysed by the Economy & Skills Group at Warwickshire County Council. It showed that domestic and international sales were improving – more dramatically in manufacturing but in the services sector too, leading to job creation.

It will be interesting to see if the optimism continues when we see the results for the final survey of 2023 as that will give a strong barometer for how firms believe we are going to begin the new year.

The outlook for the economy – alongside a range of other issues – will be a topic of conversation at the Chamber’s annual Business and Economic Conference at the Coventry Building Society Arena on November 10.

I’m very much looking forward to the opportunity to hear from some great speakers and also to catch up with other business people and decision-makers from across the region.

The conference is being delivered in partnership with PET-Xi Training and Prime Accountants Group. PLMR Advent is the media partner and Eskuta and Make Venues (Woodland Grange) have signed up as supporting sponsors.

Of course, all of this comes before the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement towards the end of November and, once again, that should give businesses across the patch a better understanding of the direction of travel for next year – but with the added caveat that there will almost certainly be a General Election in the next 12 months!