MORE than four in five businesses in Scotland are struggling to recruit staff and around 20% expect to reduce operations this year because of the surge in energy prices, a survey shows.
The latest Addleshaw Goddard Scottish business monitor report, produced in partnership with the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute, reveals that only 7% of firms are expecting strong or very strong growth during the next 12 months.
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More than 80% of firms expect the prices of their goods and services to increase by more or a lot more than normal in the year ahead, the survey shows. The construction, and transport and storage sectors had the joint-highest share of businesses expecting to increase prices in the next 12 months, with 91% anticipating a rise. In manufacturing, 88% of firms expect to increase prices, and, for wholesale and retail, the proportion is 84%.
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About 67% of manufacturing businesses in Scotland reported that it was difficult to source available goods and services. Businesses in all sectors apart from administration and support services reported positive net balances for the volume of business for the third consecutive quarter, with the proportions experiencing rises exceeding those posting declines.
Mairi Spowage, director of the Fraser of Allander Institute, said: “These results show us that despite the reintroduction of some restrictions over the Christmas period, business optimism remained throughout the final quarter of 2021.”
However, she added: “Inflationary pressures and rising energy prices are a concern for firms. Growing uncertainty throughout global supply chains is also causing problems for businesses across all sectors, particularly those in industries such as manufacturing. Difficulties for firms in hiring new staff also persist, with some firms expressing challenges in their ability to retain existing staff levels.”