There’s an uneasy sense of calm but no-one believes it will last

Recent signs may be good but no-one seems to be all that chipper as project Brexit lurches on
Recent signs may be good but no-one seems to be all that chipper as project Brexit lurches on
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As someone recently wrote - in the context of the newspaper game - the best time to be in the business of war munitions is right up to the point where all sides are throwing everything they can get at each other and before somebody hits the big red button...

Similarly, right now, though revenues may be falling, overheads are at their lowest as staffing levels plummet and expenses are cut to bone.

Print will eventually die, they argue - hopefully to be replaced by digital growth - but until then there’s decent money to be made.

It’s been a little bit the same this week with various reports about the state of the economy and so on.

There’s been a boost, for example, in confidence according to Danske Bank whose Consumer Confidence Index for the first quarter (Q1) of 2019 rose to 139, up from 127 in the Q4 last year.

That was put down to higher wage growth in the province - even thought the recent Income Tracker from Asda showed, once again, that we still have less cash at our disposal, on average, than any other region of the UK.

Still, the index also revealed that Brexit and political stagnation continues to press on the brake pedal when it comes to looking forward to the future.

Almost 30% of people said politics had the largest negative impact on how they were feeling. A further 22% cited a lack of progress over Brexit and, while 21% said the impact of higher prices on their household finances was negatively impacting how they were feeling.

On Friday the Office for National Statistics reported the best growth in manufacturing production since the 1980s as the original Brexit deadline loomed.

The ONS noted that many manufacturers had delivered orders early, indicating a rush of activity as companies cleared out the order books in advance of the March 29 Brexit deadline.

However the British Chambers of Commerce noted: “The pick-up in growth in Q1 is likely to prove to be a high point for the UK economy this year.

“It is therefore vital that Ministers and Parliament outline a clear path forward on Brexit, and do more to tackle the long-standing domestic challenges for the UK economy - from weak productivity to a growing skills gap.”