SWALLOWS are said to be the traditional sign of spring time. All of the signs are there for a true British summer: expensive strawberries in South West London (again), England losing a penalty shoot out (again) and complaints about the dreadful weather (again).
If it seems that nothing ever changes in the summer in Britain, this year will be different. We have already had the Diamond Jubilee and we are fast approaching the arrival of the Olympics. The various celebrations around the country from street parties to Bear Grylls carrying the Olympic torch from the top of the Tyne Bridge have already generated a feel-good factor for the country, despite the weather (again).
The economy will undoubtedly have received a much needed boost particularly in the tourism sector or, better still, if you are a manufacturer of bunting or Union Jack flags.
However the additional celebrations have also had a detrimental effect. Productivity is down for May, a trend which is likely to continue throughout the summer.
Office parties for the Euro 2012 qualification matches will morph into corporate tickets for events like the Northumberland Plate, Wimbledon and then the Olympics. There are also signs of businesses delaying expansion plans on the back of uncertainty in the eurozone, using the interrupted summer as an excuse to put off investments.
Business surveys are becoming unpredictable with the North East Chamber of Commerce’s Business Confidence survey showing the North East has the highest levels of confidence, just as the economy is slipping back, the Experian survey showing that North East has the fourth highest level of insolvencies on the same day as the Ernst and Young survey shows inward investment job creation doubled last year in the North East.
The top tips for the summer months for anyone not taking an extended break are to ensure your cash management systems are in the best possible shape they could be. The Experian report indicates that companies with 10-100 employees are in the highest risk category with cash flow the most common reason for failure. Coming out of the summer, businesses with the best cash management will be best placed to face the trials of the autumn.
:: Neil Warwick is partner at Newcastle-based law firm Dickinson Dees.