'Mixed fortunes' in export survey

Southampton docks

Export orders fell slightly in recent months, but more firms are planning to take on new staff, according to a new report.

A survey of 1,800 companies found that confidence among exporters about future turnover and profit levels remained high.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
The report, by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and DHL, said there were mixed fortunes in the study, suggesting that economic challenges remained.

Larger firms reported the biggest fall in export orders this year compared with 12 months ago.
Just over a quarter of those polled said they expected to increase staffing levels this year.

John Longworth, director general of the (BCC), said: "These results are a mixed bag, and reflect the challenges still being faced by those trading internationally. We need more companies to take the plunge and start exporting and to do this they need support from government, particularly through investment in trade promotion.

"If we are to win the economic war that the Prime Minister has described on numerous occasions, we need both a more enterprise-friendly environment and a large-scale increase in the resources and attention dedicated to supporting international trade."

A separate study found that three out of four smaller firms believed business prospects were hampered by red tape and a complex tax system.

A survey of 750 small businesses by energy giant E.ON showed that the biggest boost to their prospects would come from reduced bureaucracy and simplified tax systems rather than improved access to finance.

© 2013 Press Association
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