Any cuts 'will hit private firms in Bristol'

A business owner in Bristol says she believes the private sector will not come out unscathed if the government makes cuts in the public sector.

BBC-commissioned research suggests the city has high business resilience, with high-growth sectors, new businesses and foreign investment.

The research by Experian ranks the resilience of areas to economic shocks.

Stella Weeks, who owns Mainline Employment, said any cuts could lead to firms losing public sector contracts.

The government will announce its spending review results in the autumn.

The announcement is expected to include details of which government departments will need to cut their spending, and by how much.

The research also shows Bristol has the 11th highest number of employees in resilient sectors across England's council areas, defined as those faring well despite tough economic times, such as banking and insurance.

The city also has the 18th highest working age population of anywhere in England and the highest in the BBC West region, the research suggests.

'Very worried'

But Ms Weeks said that not only could the cuts lead to private companies losing contracts in the public sector, but also losing customers who may not be able to afford to spend.

Her recruitment agency, which specialises in temporary and permanent vacancies in driving, warehouse and office work, has been operating in Bristol since 1990 and also has an office in Swindon.

Ms Weeks said: "I don't think private sector companies are going to be anywhere near as affected as the public sector, but I think they are going to be very cautious.

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"We are not getting the amount of permanent vacancies we hoped we would - all the work is falling under temporary workers.

"I think the companies are very worried. I do think they will make more redundancies to keep the costs down and employ temps during busy times."

BBC Radio Bristol will be holding a Big Debate on Friday morning from 0900 BST.

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