Shropshire Star

Shropshire Chamber chief reflects on 'encouraging' inflation drop

Business chiefs have reacted with cautious optimism to this week's news that the inflation rate in the UK fell sharply last month.

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Ruth Ross, Shropshire Chamber’s chief executive.

The rate dropped to its lowest rate in two years, data from the Office for National Statistics revealed. The figure dropped to 4.6 per cent in the year to October, down from 6.7 per cent the month before, largely due to lower energy prices.

But Ruth Ross, Shropshire Chamber of Commerce chief executive, said: “This sharp fall in Consumer Prices Index inflation is certainly encouraging.

"However, in reality, it is only part of the story. Inflation in many sectors is still running much higher than this figure and continues to dampen spending across many Shropshire businesses, impacting on their profitability.

“Businesses are still struggling to invest, as they face the challenges of high interest rates, skills shortages and difficult trading conditions.”

She said next week’s Autumn Statement would be an opportunity for the Government to outline a clear strategy for growth.

“We echo the calls from the British Chambers of Commerce for action from the Chancellor on planning, the energy grid, full expensing, business rates and occupational health," she said.

"Movement on these crucial issues can provide a springboard for business investment which will be the cornerstone of economic growth.”

Mike Goodall, development manager for Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Federation of Small Businesses, added: "The fall in inflation is of course welcome news.

"It should help to reduce the risk of further bank interest rate increases and take some of the heat out of wage inflation too.

"However, after a protracted 'cost of doing business crisis' there’s still some way to go to restore business confidence and boost local and national economies.

"The Federation of Small Businesses is calling on the Government to announce measures to help small businesses in next week’s Autumn Statement."