Businesses in positive mood for the new year

Most firms in Warwickshire are heading into 2014 in a confident mood, according to a new survey.

Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Survey provides a barometer to the regional economy and also feeds into a national survey conducted by the British Chambers of Commerce.

The latest poll for the final quarter of 2013 suggests that firms in both manufacturing and the service sector are optimistic about the year ahead - especially those who trade overseas.

In manufacturing, 67 per cent of companies believe turnover will rise next year while 68 per cent of business in the service sector are anticipating a rise.

When it comes to advance orders or bookings, 47 per cent of service sector companies have seen an increase for the next three months rising to 74 per cent on advanced export orders.

In manufacturing, 29 per cent of firms say advanced domestic orders are up - but that rises to 63 per cent on advanced overseas orders.

Louise, Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “On the whole, the figures paint a positive picture as we enter the new year.

“There’s no doubt that life has been extremely difficult for companies for a sustained period so no firm that we speak to is getting carried away by the fact that the economy is improving.

“Many difficult decisions have been taken over the past four or five years and companies will remain prudent as they look to grow.”

At Warwick-based energy supplier First Utility, more than 150 new jobs were created in 2013.

The company has said this is a reflection of its continued growth as it challenges the ‘Big Six’ energy companies with low price tariffs.

In the past 12 months the company’s customer number has soared to more than 300,000 and it has been ranked in the Fast Track 100 for the third year running.

As a result of this growth and success the company has increased its staff numbers to more than 400.

The majority of these new starters have joined the customer services department as part of its commitment to the business.

Leamington and Warwick MP Chris White said: “I am 
delighted to see that First Utility has achieved such positive figures in terms of jobs this year. First Utility is now undoubtedly a key player in the competitive energy supply market and its remarkable growth is to be congratulated.

“It’s a fantastic business, employing local people , and it sets a wonderful example for other businesses in our region to follow.”