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Britain's economy found itself stuck in a 'weak holding pattern' by the end of last year, a survey by the British Chambers of Research suggests.
'Stagnating levels of growth and business confidence as a result of heightened Brexit uncertainty and other economic pressures', the BCC said.
Survey - Companies - People - Sales - Order
The survey of 6,000 companies employing around one million people revealed that domestic sales and order levels are down, while recruitment difficulties, particularly in the manufacturing sector, 'stand near record highs' and price pressures continue.
The gloomy summary comes a day after the Markit/CIPS UK manufacturing purchasing managers' index showed a reading of 54.2 last month, higher than the 53.6 recorded in November, and a six-month high.
Fifths - Employers - Manufacturing - Service - Sector
Four fifths of employers in manufacturing, and almost as many in the service sector, reported difficulties in finding the right workers, the BCC said. For the manufacturing sector, this is the worst level seen since 1989.
A large number of manufacturers told the BBC they expect to have to continuing raising prices.
Proportion - Services - Firms - Sales - Year
The proportion of services firms saying sales were improving had dropped to a two year low.
Cashflow continues to be a concern for both the manufacturing and service sectors, with the balance of firms reporting improved cash flow 'remaining weak.'
Brexit - Looming - BCC - 'As - Westminster
With Brexit looming, the BCC said: 'As Westminster prepares to return from recess, the leading business group is calling on all political parties to find a way forward and ensure that the UK does not face a messy and disorderly exit from the EU.
'Avoiding a chaotic Brexit would bolster business confidence and investment, and give businesses some much-need clarity on trading conditions in the near-term.'
Suren - Thiru - Head - Economics - Chambers
Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: 'Our latest survey suggests that UK economic conditions were worryingly...
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