Electrical Trade Magazine: Utility Sector Holds Its Ground On Business Investment Ahead Of Brexit

Date: April 9, 2019

The utility sector is holding its ground ahead of Brexit, recording a 9.5% boost in business investment last year, according to analysis by specialist tax consultancy Catax.

Total business investment in the electricity, gas and water industries hit £15.3bn in the first three quarters of 2018, according to the latest government data1. This compared with £14bn for the same period a year earlier.

The sector has seen year on year growth of about eight per cent since 2015 when investment stood at £16.7bn for the year, rising to £19.6bn by the end of 2017.

The sector is bucking the national trend, with latest figures showing the UK economy grew at its most sluggish rate for six years in 20182.

Overall business investment dropped from £46.9bn to £46.2bn for the fourth consecutive quarter in 2018 across all industries, the first time that has happened since the economic downturn in 20093.

It is a challenging time for businesses, who have been unable to solidify their expansion and investment plans while faced with an uncertain future relationship with the EU.

Against this backdrop, utilities companies are maintaining a relatively robust posture, recording business investment of £5bn between July and September 2018. This was an increase of £206m from the £4.8bn recorded for the same period in 2017.

With the rise of renewables and digital technology, the utilities sector has continued to innovate with 83 per cent of utilities and manufacturing companies developing new products and services in the last two years, spending an average of £190,911 on this, according to the Catax research⁴.

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