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  • Overview

    Businesses in Kent and Medway are facing increased costs and will be looking to pass them on to their customers, finds a new survey of business leaders attending the Kent and Medway Business Summit.

    The survey of 52 business leaders conducted by accountants, business and financial advisers Kreston Reeves and law firm Thomson Snell & Passmore, sponsors of the Kent and Medway Business Summit, found:

    • 60% of businesses intend to pass on increased costs to their customers.
    • 71% of businesses are struggling to attract new staff.
    • 69% of businesses have employee incentive programmes to help retain and attract staff.
    • 40% of businesses are experiencing delays in their supply chains of up to six months.
    • 23% of businesses report international trade has decreased since the UK left the European Union.
    • 67% of businesses expect to grow through merger or acquisition.
    • 31% of businesses believe there needs to be greater incentives to encourage businesses to relocate to Kent.
    • 29% of businesses believe the county needs a better road infrastructure to make the county a more attractive place for businesses.

     

    The Kent and Medway Business Summit, held on 27 April 2022, is one of the foremost events for ambitious and growing businesses, with over 400 business leaders attending. Keynote speakers include Cllr Roger Gough, Leader of Kent County Council, Andy Martin from the London Resort, and Kate Willard, OBE, Thames Estuary Envoy.

    David Rosevear, Accounts Manager at Kreston Reeves, said: “Businesses are facing a prolonged period of uncertainty emerging from a global pandemic, new trading relationships with the EU, and conflict in Ukraine. Delays in supply chains, increased energy costs, and soaring inflation are adding significantly to costs, leaving businesses with little or no choice but to pass those costs on.

    “Businesses, however, face a balancing act. Corporate customers will too be facing the same challenges and may be unwilling to absorb additional cost. Households are facing a cost-of-living crisis and may simply decide to go without or look for cheaper alternatives.”

    Jason Varney, Partner in the Corporate team at Thomson Snell & Passmore said: “We are enormously encouraged to see the optimism and confidence Kent and Medway business leaders hold. Growth is very much on their minds, with two-thirds looking achieve that through merger or acquisition. This certainly reflects our current experience, with continued high levels of M&A activity for clients. It is always rewarding to help guide clients through the complexities of a merger or acquisition and strong business growth across Kent and Medway is good news for the entire region.”

    Businesses attending the Kent and Medway Summit are very clear that Kent’s political and business leaders need to do more to make the county a better place to do business:

    • 31% said there needs to be greater incentives to encourage businesses to relocate to Kent.
    • 29% said the county needs a better road infrastructure to make the county a more attractive place for businesses.
    • 13% want to see freer movement of goods between Kent and France.
    • 10% would like to see a forum for businesses to meet and share their views with local government.
    • 8% would like to see easier access to commercial property.

     

    David said: “Kent is clearly a terrific place to do business, but we should not be complacent. The county faces strong competition from its neighbours and London. Just as businesses continue to innovate, so too should government maintain and nurture Kent’s business community.”

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