Lancashire firms show strong growth in 2014

Pleased: Babs Murphy
Pleased: Babs Murphy

Lancashire businesses have reported strong growth to the end of 2014, according to the latest Quarterly Economic Survey published by the Chamber of Commerce.

Shrugging off recent signs of a slowdown, the manufacturing sector recorded increases in the balances for domestic sales (plus 33 per cent, up from plus 16 per cent in the third quarter.)

Export sales were plus 17 per cent, up from plus 10 per cent in Q3; and workforce levels plus 18 per cent, up from plus eight per cent in Q3.

The new survey, compiled by the county’s three Chambers in association with Preston-based Moore and Smalley Chartered Accountants, also shows that the service sector recorded increases in the balances for export sales up 12 per cent.

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber, said: “It is particularly pleasing to see the manufacturing sector bounce back in the fourth quarter, despite signs of a slowdown in recent months.

“However we must aim for growth that is sustainable for the long-term.

“Strengthening our business finance system, which constrains the growth aspirations of too many firms, will remain a decisive factor in securing a sustainable recovery.”

Stephen Gregson, corporate finance director at Moore and Smalley, added: “The feel from this quarter’s survey is that there has been a mild, but noticeable, improvement on the preceding quarter, particularly for manufacturing.”

Chamber president Norman Tenray said the Quarterly Economic Survey was a vital barometer for the business community and he urged more businesses across the region to take part.