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Regional insights

The view from the East of England mid-market

Every two months, we ask business leaders across the country to share their expectations and priorities for the future. We want to track how sentiment is changing in the market and get insight on timely issues: from tax to ESG.

Read the latest views from business leaders in the East of England.

What's changed since August 2021?

  • Business revenue optimism has reduced by 18%
  • Optimism on UK economic outlook has fallen by 32%
  • 34% of mid-market businesses see new taxes as a top growth threat
  • Only 26% of respondents have net zero incentives on their agenda

120x120-james-brown-2.pngJames Brown, Practice Leader Central Region at Grant Thornton UK LLP, said:

“With mid-market firms already facing a perfect storm of challenges, not least the current disruption to supply chains and rising energy prices, additional taxes could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for many businesses.

“More than a third (34%) of East of England mid-market business leaders said that the increased tax burden is a top threat to growth. This is higher than the national average of 31%. The increases most likely to affect them include the corporation tax increase to 25% (on profits in excess of £250,000) from 2023 and the National Insurance rise scheduled for April 2022. Further strain on resources will come from the increasing rate of inflation, and the 6.6.% increase to the National Living Wage announced in the Autumn Budget.

“Supply chain issues are also likely to be a key factor impacting optimism levels in the region. As major disruption to supply chains continues across the country, businesses are facing a real mix of temporary and structural challenges, from changing Brexit regulations to production delays, causing problems for businesses and their customers.”

East business leaders' optimism falls in the outlook of the UK economy

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Net zero ambitions

Ahead of COP26, the research found that incentives for low carbon business strategies are slightly lower on the agenda in the East of England (26%) compared to the UK average (30%).

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James Brown added:

“It’s encouraging to see appetite for low carbon business strategies on the mid-market’s radar – even if this is a little less of a priority in the East than elsewhere. To shift the dial in this area, policy setters need to share clearer guidance that helps businesses integrate net zero strategies into their operations, opens mid-market access to funds and projects, and consolidates relevant reporting frameworks and standards."

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