Cuts are biting, warns business

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DONCASTER’S business leaders are warning that the Government’s spending cuts are really starting to bite.

A report published by Doncaster Chamber of Commerce reveals companies across the borough are beginning to see sales hit by the squeeze.

Now firms are planning a meeting to discuss the problems they are facing.

Doncaster Chamber’s Economic Review details data collected during the first quarter of the year.

It reveals sales fell by 12 per cent in the three month period ending on March 31.

The organisation also reported a 17 per cent drop in investment in plant and machinery, a 21 per cent drop in training provision, and the percentage of businesses reporting overall turnover growth down from 50 per cent at the end of 2010 to 13 per cent now.

Business confidence was also described as falling.

Ian Mason, economic advisor at the Chamber, said: “The Chamber has repeatedly warned that measures in the emergency budget and comprehensive spending review announced last year will endanger growth prospects.”

He said the chamber was concerned the coalition had little awareness of the economic conditions necessary for business growth, particularly in areas such as Doncaster, where there was a high concentration of small firms and public sector jobs.

He added: “The Chamber will be meeting with cabinet members today to discuss these matters.”

The chamber is made up of 1,200 borough businesses.

Doncaster has been hit by a wave of cuts in public spending. Doncaster Council is looking to save around £70 million over four years.

Hundreds of jobs have already been lost at the authority, following a programme of voluntary early retirements and voluntary redundancies. Many of the jobs, which have gone at all levels of the council from directors down, had been shed by Christmas.

Pay and conditions for staff at the authority has also been put under review, with options looked at including reductions in the working week and reductions in holiday leave.

The Government has blamed the cuts on the levels of borrowing it inherited from the previous Government.

Doncaster North MP and Labour leader Ed Miliband recently addressed a rally against the cuts in London.