Private sector activity flatlines says CBI survey

The 'fog of uncertainty' must be lifted so businesses can plan and invest
The 'fog of uncertainty' must be lifted so businesses can plan and invest

Economic activity in private firms was “flat” in recent months and is only expected to pick up slightly over the summer, a new study suggests.

Activity declined in business and professional services, balanced by a pick up in manufacturing and distribution, said the CBI.

Underlying economic activity remains subdued, said the business group after surveying over 500 companies.

Rain Newton-Smith, the CBI’s chief economist, said: “Underlying growth remains subdued, highlighting the need for the fog of uncertainty to be lifted so businesses can plan and invest with confidence, allowing the UK to tackle issues other than Brexit.

“As recent protests have highlighted, climate change requires urgent attention and global leadership. There are plenty more projects, from combating underperforming productivity to making our workforce match fit for the future, which are left unfinished while the current Brexit impasse continues.

“Getting growth going again needs a relentless focus on the UK’s domestic agenda and progression to the second stage of talks with the EU, our biggest trading partner. Time wasting is not an option.”