THE findings of the British Chambers of Commerce latest Quarterly Economic Survey makes interesting reading.

The survey of more than 6,800 businesses – employing around 1.2 million people – points to the impact that relentless Brexit uncertainty, rising business costs and tougher global trading conditions are having on the UK economy, with service sector output subdued and indicators of manufacturing activity deteriorating.

One of the particularly concerning aspects is that although the balance of firms reporting improved cash flow picked up in the quarter, it remained low by historic standards, which is concerning as cashflow is a key indicator of financial health.

The message I’m constantly receiving from Chamber members and businesses across Somerset, both small and large, is cashflow is critical to survival.

Chamber activity is gearing up as we enter a busy period, our annual Somerset Business Awards, now in their fifteenth year, are in full swing.

Any business can enter and, with new categories, new sponsors and a new location at the fabulous Winter Gardens Weston-super-Mare, this year is shaping up nicely.

The Chamber has also launched one of the largest broadband survey ever undertaken across the Somerset business community.

This isn’t just a member survey, it’s open to all businesses across the county and will provide valuable insight and hard data about the coverage, quality, strength, speed and needs of companies and organisations who must have robust, strong and constant connectivity to work.

Meanwhile, my colleagues at the Bank of England released their Financial Stability Report, which stated: “The core of the UK financial system, including banks, dealers and insurance companies, is resilient to, and prepared for, the wide range of risks it could face, including a worst-case disorderly Brexit. The perceived likelihood of a no-deal Brexit has increased since the start of the year.”

There is comfort in the fact The Bank of England Financial Policy Committee is telling me the UK banking system remains strong enough to continue to lend through the wide range of UK economic and financial shocks that could be associated with Brexit.

CEO of Somerset Chamber of Commerce