In June 2023, key issues raised by Buckinghamshire businesses included:
Debt: The cost of servicing debt is inhibiting businesses ability to invest. There are believed to be many 'zombie' businesses surviving on loans that they can't pay off.
Costs: High costs continue to be cited as a cause for concern. This month, some small businesses have cited the impact that London's Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is having on the cost of deliveries into London. Businesses have quoted an additional £12.50 a day on top of other escalating costs and no scrappage scheme or other support for businesses without a registered address in London.
B2B difficulties: Those operating in the business-to-business market appear to be suffering more than those in the business-to-consumer market as a result of inflationary pressures. Few companies have spare cash and most are having to be more mindful about where they spend.
Planning: Businesses looking to utilise the Rural England Prosperity Fund have raised concerns that planning delays and disparities between the processes of different local authorities could be a barrier to business growth.
Flexible workspace: There is demand from businesses for flexible workspaces with short term contract commitments.
Recruitment: Challenges are still being felt with difficulties in recruitment of ‘maintenance operatives/engineers’ being highlighted this month. A landscape gardening business has needed to turn down contracts due to not being able to adequately recruit as planned.
The above issues were highlighted to BBF by local businesses. BBF use this 'on-the-ground' intelligence to inform local business support activity, and share it with central government on a monthly basis to inform national strategy.