MANUFACTURING in the region has slowed significantly in the last three months as companies report the lowest level of domestic sales activity in seven years.

In its latest round of economic survey findings, the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce says the ongoing uncertainty caused by Brexit is dominating this quarter’s results.

Industrial exports also slowed for the second consecutive quarter, while the service sector reported slowing sales, driven by a fall in consumer spending.

Following the stockpiling the chamber reported in the first quarter of 2019, companies may still not have unwound their positions, meaning that cash is tied up which may hinder their ability to respond to threats and opportunities as we prepare to leave the EU.

Nick Garthwaite, newly-appointed chair of the chamber which represents businesses in York, North Yorkshire, Leeds and Bradford, said: “Companies are holding off major decision-making ahead of Brexit, the uncertainty is crippling. Manufacturing investment in the last quarter was at its lowest point since the EU referendum as companies await the outcome of negotiations between Brussels and Westminster.

“We are encouraging all companies, irrespective of whether they trade with Europe or not to review our Brexit checklist and make sure they are prepared. This is available at”

Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, said: “The strong employment figures are a positive sign for the region despite the ongoing uncertainty with the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union.

“It is apparent from the report that more communication is needed to help businesses prepare for Brexit. We are committed to providing businesses in the region with support and resources to prepare for Brexit.

“Businesses can contact the LEP Growth Service as an impartial source of advice on the support available.”