Welcome to 2022 to the members of Plym Chamber CIC!

As we race in to 2022 with a renewed sense of optimism for our businesses following the disruptions of the past two years it is humbling to see how our members have adapted to the immense challenges of the Covid Pandemic and how a number of us have even become more efficient as a result … and in some cases successfully used the Pandemic as an opportunity to grow their business. One thing that 2021 has taught us is the value of resilience and how we can achieve our business and personal goals by working smarter and changing our working habits.

Many businesses continue to find recruitment and staff retention one of their main challenges and this threatens to be a recurring theme in 2022.** This highlights the importance of valuing our staff and placing staff wellbeing towards the top of our priority list. Working from home has become much more commonplace and as a result many business owners and their staff are enjoying a better work/life balance without seeing a drop in efficiency. As the saying goes “a happy workforce is a productive workforce” and, according to recent Oxford University research, happy workers are 13% more productive!*

Whilst the UK economy is yet to reach pre-pandemic levels we are in a period of growth and the latest economic statistics evidence this***.

That is not to say that we do not face some significant challenges ahead. Many business sectors are struggling to return to full trading, largely as a result of ongoing high rates of Coronavirus infections affecting the workforce. The UK Government lifted its “Plan B” restrictions on 27th January and this has coincided with a drop in the availability of staff … but let’s hope this proves to be nothing more than a short term setback.

Recent news headlines focus on a looming cost of living crisis with retail price inflation and the upcoming energy price hike fuelling consumers’ uncertainty. As a result of the ongoing escalation in the rate of inflation the Bank of England raised the Bank of England base rate to 0.5% on 3rd February and it came with warnings of the biggest fall in living standards in three decades. We all need to bear these challenges in mind as we plan for the coming year.

So how can Plym Chamber CIC help you and your business in 2022? One of the best ways to way to get ahead is to grow your network. We all need to continue seeking new opportunities and new customers to grow our businesses and where better to start than the ready-made network of experts and suppliers within the Chamber! By engaging with our fellow chamber members and events we are sure to find new opportunities as well as solutions to the hurdles that all businesses face from time to time. At Plym Chamber CIC we are very keen to promote business between members and we would encourage everyone to look within the existing membership as the first point of call. You will most probably be surprised by the extensive range of quality goods and professional services that our members can offer each other.

The Chamber committee has been working incredibly hard throughout 2021 to provide a range of benefits to our members. We have continued to host a variety of online networking events ranging from Digital breakfasts to Friday lunch clubs; we have introduced monthly Walk and Talk events which continue to grow in popularity; we have successfully reintroduced our ever popular “live” monthly Boringdon Breakfast meetings (lockdowns permitting!); and we have continued our core work with the local community by staging the incredible Light Up Plympton 2021 … and we were delighted to see the Plympton Ridgeway full of wonderful traders and the local community out in force sampling their wares and positively engaging with each other.

By supporting and working with each other we will make 2022 a great year!

Matt Bryant is a solicitor and Partner at local firm of solicitors, Kitsons LLP, based at Langage Business Park. Matt specialises in property transactions especially business premises and landlord and tenant matters. DD Tel: 01752 236711 email: matthew.bryant@kitsons-solicitors.co.uk website: https://www.kitsons-solicitors.co.uk/

*Research by Said Business School Oxford University in collaboration with British Telecom.

**According to the Office of National Statistics “Business Insights and Impact on the UK economy” (27 Jan 2022):

  • In mid-January 2022, 80% of all businesses were fully trading, compared with 77% in early January 2022; businesses within the transport and storage industry and the accommodation and food service activities industry reported the lowest percentage of businesses fully trading, at 64%.
  • Approximately a third (32%) of all businesses currently trading reported that their turnover had decreased in the last two weeks compared with normal expectations for this time of year, with 52% of these businesses reporting the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as the main reason for change.
  • In mid-January 2022, 13% of businesses reported a shortage of workers; the accommodation and food service activities industry reported the highest percentage (28%), with 60% of these businesses reporting that employees are now working increased hours because of the shortages.
  • More than a third (34%) of businesses currently trading in the accommodation and food service activities industry had difficulty procuring materials, goods or services from within the UK in the last month. This compares to 28% of such businesses experiencing these difficulties in December 2021.
  • The proportion of the workforce working from home in the last two weeks was 17%, an increase of three percentage points from early December 2021, while the proportion of the workforce reported to be on sick leave or not working because of coronavirus remained at 3%, the highest level reported since comparable estimates began in June 2020.

***According to the office for National statistics:

  • UK gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have grown by 1.0% in Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2020 for the second consecutive quarter, while the level of GDP in the UK is 7.8% below its Quarter 4 2019 level. (updated 22 Dec 21)
  • Monthly services output grew by 0.7% between October 2021 and November 2021 to reach a level that is 1.3% above February 2020, the last month of ‘normal’ trading conditions prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. (updated 14 Jan 2022)
  • Retail sales volumes fell by 3.7% in December 2021 but were 2.6% higher than their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) February 2020 levels. (updated 21 January 2022)


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