Election jitters spark slight slowdown in Norfolk economy
Nerves over the outcome of the general election are being blamed for a slight slowdown in the Norfolk economy.
The British Chambers of Commerce's (BCC) first quarterly survey of the year shows domestic sales growth in the county's manufacturing sector slowing from +13pc in Q4 2014 to +12pc with orders falling more sharply from +14pc to +8pc.
Meanwhile, manufacturing export sales weakened by nine points to +21pc.
In services, there was a mixed picture concerning Norfolk's domestic balances with sales falling from +51pc to +35pc but orders showing an increase from +17pc to +29pc; however, service export sales fell considerably by 44 points to +16pc.
The survey reveals Norfolk's manufacturing and services firms have lowered their investment intentions for training, as well as plant and machinery. It also suggests the county's economic performance to be generally more sluggish than the national picture.
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Norfolk Chamber of Commerce spokesman, Nova Fairbank, said: 'As the general election draws closer, with one of the most difficult results to predict, the uncertainty is reflected in the Norfolk QES results.'
Faced with reduced sales and orders the manufacturing sector had advised of lower rates of recruitment this quarter; confidence in turnover and profitability were also down, she added.
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The BCC's director general, John Longworth, said: 'While it is a fact that growth in the economy continues, these figures are a reminder that the path to great, sustainable, long-term growth is bumpy and challenging.'