Yorkshire has huge potential – but directors need support to navigate uncertain economic conditions

Since returning from the Far East to set up my own business in North Yorkshire, I have been amazed by the resilience and entrepreneurialism of local directors.

But those characteristics are being tested to the limit.

In my voluntary role as Policy and Governance Ambassador for North Yorkshire, I regularly hold meetings with local directors to discover the issues and challenges they face.

With costs rising across the board, directors are being forced to make tough decisions that impact on employees and customers.

The pressures of high energy and commodity costs, difficulties in the labour market and problems with international supply chains mean that many businesses face a prolonged period of heightened risk and uncertainty.

After two years of Coronavirus restrictions, we are now finding that the ‘new normal’ trading environment is one of nervousness and unpredictability.

And with the devastating war in Ukraine showing no signs of abating, this uncertainty is set to continue.

Do you change suppliers, absorb the costs or pass the extra costs on to customers? Do you invest for the future or cut overheads? Or do you just stand still and see it out?

The IoD’s Directors’ Economic Confidence Index, which measures business leader optimism in prospects for the UK economy, remained very low in March and April this year. ‘UK economic conditions’ was the most cited negative factor affecting business, narrowly ahead of ‘cost of energy’.

The Institute has called on the Chancellor to look again at tax incentives for business investment. We also want to see a national energy security policy that moves towards price stability and net zero goals.

We welcomed the Bank of England’s decision to raise interest rates to tackle high expectations of inflation. However, a watchful eye must be kept on cost of living pressures that cause households to cut their discretionary spending.

The IoD has always had a strong presence in Yorkshire. We listen to our members and speak out on their behalf.

With more economic certainty and the right government support, I believe that Yorkshire can play a key role in the UK’s recovery.

We have an unrivalled location in the heart of the country, a diverse economy and a young, skilled population. This is a fantastic mix for those looking to invest and expand. Together, we can give meaning to the over-used phrase ‘levelling up’.

I would like to hear your views on the economy. What are the issues and challenges you are facing? What extra support do you require?

Please contact our senior branch manager [email protected] to share your views or, even better, join our branch policy team and be at the heart of our mission to create better directors and a better world.

Nick Green is the IoD’s Policy and Governance Ambassador for North Yorkshire and chief executive of Fatgreen. To find out more about how the IoD uses its influence to get a better deal for directors, visit https://www.iod.com/news/policy-and-governance.

Better directors for a better world

The IoD supports directors and business leaders across the UK and beyond to learn, network and build successful, responsible businesses.
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