St Helens Businesses tell us their priorities for 2018

15 Jan 2018


In October we launched our first Business Priorities Survey inviting St Helens businesses to share their views on the issues that most concern you, both locally and nationally.

As COMMENT went to print over 100 local businesses across all business sectors had responded to the survey, giving a real indication of the key issues affecting the St Helens business community. Over half of the firms replying are in the Business to Business sector, with a quarter in Manufacturing, 20% in Business to Consumer services, and 3% Construction.

It will be no surprise to hear that your focus is on growing your business: very positive results received with 85% intending to grow turnover in the next year, including 36% intending to grow more than 20%.

We asked you what would help you to improve the growth prospects for your business in 2018. Helping employers recruit and retain good employees were the most popular choices, with 45% of employers selecting help to recruit, and 36% saying that it would be important for them to retain good employees. Employee recruitment and retention was also the top choice when selecting the issues that are most likely to cause concern in 2018, with 52% of businesses selecting this choice. A fifth of employers selected employment costs/pay settlements as an issue for concern, while reducing employment costs was chosen by a quarter of employers as an area that would improve growth prospects for their business.

The national economy had an influence on the issues named as likely to affect business growth next year. 27% selected exchange rate concerns, 15% highlighted input cost issues as a worry (and this was strongly associated with exchange rate concerns), and 33% selected Brexit as an issue. Half of the respondents nominating these issues were exporters.

Tracy Mawson, Deputy Chief Executive at St Helens Chamber, said: “Knowing what issues businesses are facing and gathering their ideas about how to improve growth will help the Chamber to present these issues to local, regional and national decision-makers. Over the coming months we will be working to highlight the action and investment needed in St Helens to help our businesses thrive.”

If you would like to talk to us about your views and concerns, please contact Tracy Mawson on 01744 742020 or email