Price rises hitting firms, warn business leaders

BUSINESS leaders have warned inflation is putting pressure on them at the start of 2011.

Doncaster Chamber of Commerce's latest quarterly report highlights the issue and warns 53 per cent of businesses reported pressure from the high cost of raw materials during the last quarter of 2010.

The figure represented a rise from 22 per cent on the previous quarter.

And 28 per cent of businesses were expecting further hikes in the coming quarter - an increase of nine per cent from the previous quarter.

But the report also revealed sales grew by one per cent in the last quarter of 2010, and 21 per cent of businesses interviewed expected to recruit over the next three months, while 11 per cent expected their workforce to decrease.

Daniel Fell, head of policy at Doncaster Chamber, said: "In uncertain economic times, Doncaster is not ideally placed to witness a business-led recovery.

"Though November represented the ninth successive month in Doncaster that unemployment has fallen, and while the labour market has demonstrated a fantastic degree of strength - by keeping more workers in employment than comparable recessions of the last century - a disproportionate number of jobs in Doncaster are in the public sector.

"This leaves the area vulnerable to government austerity measures that could see over a million workers in the public sector made redundant."

Bosses at the Chamber say they believe the greatest threat to economic stability in the short to medium term comes from inflation, with fuel rising by 10 per cent in the last three months, falling wages, and rising food costs.

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