Chambers’ call for more exports

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Boosting exports in goods is needed to address the current ‘unbalanced’ and ‘two-tier’ economic growth, according to South Yorkshire business leaders.

The joint call from the South Yorkshire Chambers of Commerce follows the publication of the British Chamber of Commerce’s (BCC) Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) which assesses business confidence for the second quarter of 2015 (April to June).

Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber, said the economy is growing but added: “The more challenging issue we face is that the growth is unbalanced and two-tier - both in terms of business sectors and geography. The service sector is growing much quicker than the manufacturing and goods sector, and the north is not growing as fast as the south.

“The latter will not be helped by the ‘pause’ in electrification plans for the Midland Main Line northern rail routes announced last month and widely condemned by the Sheffield City Region Chambers.”

He added: “We need more wealth creation, and that has to come from the goods sector. There are signs in our city business region that some of the fundamentals required to achieve this are in place. Investment in plant, products and skills has shown good trends for some time now.

“Probably more disappointing is that, while exports have risen, it is far below the rate required and is not penetrating the non-traditional markets outside Europe and the USA fast enough.

“Growing exports in goods will tackle the imbalance with services as well as the north/south discrepancy. It creates wealth and jobs and it must, and will, remain a major focus for Chambers.”