Bucks LEP and Buckinghamshire Business First’s latest Buckinghamshire Business Barometer survey shows the second quarter of 2022 brought a substantial negative change on trading conditions and business performance for respondents, undoing some of the progress achieved following the end of Covid restrictions.

The Barometer asked Buckinghamshire businesses about areas where they are seeing rising business costs and their severity. All 67 businesses that responded to the survey experienced a rise in business costs in at least one of the 13 areas identified. More than half (57%) experienced rising business costs in at least six or more areas.

In terms of the severity of those business cost increases, energy and goods/materials stood out as particular concerns. Furthermore, the severity of business cost increases for areas such as energy and goods/materials have become substantially worse in less than a year (when compared to data for Q3 2021).

The impact of the increased severity of business costs will translate into price increases for the goods and services provided by the majority of respondents, the greatest proportion of which having implemented, or intend to implement sustainable long-term price increases for 12 months or longer.

The Barometer also asked Buckinghamshire businesses what their plans are for the next three months. Responses reflected the future uncertainty for Buckinghamshire businesses.

For instance, 55% of respondents intend to invest in marketing/advertising over the next three months. This is down from 76% the previous quarter.

Similar changes are reported across the majority of areas, the largest of which being a halving in the proportion of respondents intending to invest in equipment and machinery (48% in Q1 2022 to 24% in Q2 2022).

Of concern is also the 10% of respondents that intend to decrease their headcount in the next three months. This is up from 3% of respondents from the previous quarter.

Full findings from the Barometer survey for the second quarter of 2022 can be found on the Buckinghamshire Economic Intelligence Observatory.