Christmas shopping? Leeds households '˜wait for clarity over Brexit'

Consumer spending may be affected over the Christmas period as households wait for clarity over Brexit, a report has warned.

A report from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) also claims “hesitancy” has spread to the housing market. It added that, despite strong recent performance from industries in the region, continuing uncertainty around Brexit will “pose challenges” to some areas.

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The report, which is set to go before members of the LEP board this week, states: “It is notable that some of the sectors that have seen strong employment growth of late are among those with reliance on EU workers which may pose a challenge to these industries in future, most notably logistics and hospitality sectors.”

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The report said goods exporters continue to see the benefit of sterling’s fall and have seen export activity expand strongly in the past two years. However, an apparent fall in new businesses starting up does suggest a “degree of hesitancy in some quarters”.

It added: “That same hesitancy is evident in the housing market, where sales volumes point to a slowdown despite rising prices.

“Many households, like businesses, appear to be waiting for clarity and confidence in future arrangements before making significant investment decisions.

“This pattern may be more evident in the consumer sector as it enters the critical Christmas trading period.”

The draft Brexit agreement is set to be considered at an EU summit this weekend, but it has yet to be signed off by Parliament.