A survey carried out by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has suggested that the 'key indicators' of UK economic health 'weakened considerably' during the first quarter of 2019.
The data revealed that the balance of services sector firms reporting an increase in export sales stood at zero – representing its 'weakest level' since 2009.
Meanwhile, the balance of manufacturing businesses reporting an increase in domestic and export sales 'fell to its 2016 level'. The BCC stated that the 'lack of clarity' in regard to Brexit is 'weighing on investment intentions' for both the services and manufacturing sectors.
It also said that increases in business costs brought about by Making Tax Digital (MTD), rising business rates and increasing employer pension contributions are 'raising cost pressures' for firms across the country. The BCC is calling for the government to 'reduce rather than increase' burdens.
Commenting on the survey, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, said: 'Our findings should serve as a clear warning that the ongoing impasse at Westminster is contributing to a sharp slowdown in the real economy across the UK. Business is hitting the brakes – hard.
'The prospect of a messy and disorderly exit from the EU is weighing heavily on the UK economy, and must still be avoided.'