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Introduction by Herald Business Editor Ian McConnell

The Herald:


It must seem to many right now that we are pitching from one crisis to another.

The need to tackle soaring energy prices, and their impact on consumers and firms, has been among the burning issues of the latest quarter.

Thankfully, although it should have happened much sooner given protracted uncertainty, the UK Government eventually intervened in a major way to curb energy price hikes for households and businesses. This will not take away the pain of increased prices and sadly many will struggle, but it will limit the scale of the woe and support the broader economy.

Just after this belated intervention calmed some of the fears over sky-high energy prices, however, we had the mayhem triggered by Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget. This unnerved financial markets, shook faith in the UK’s fiscal credibility, and sent the pound plummeting to a record low against the dollar. It also fuelled fears over how high benchmark interest rates might now go.

Not much is certain in the current febrile political and economic environment.

However, one thing is clear: the challenges ahead are significant.

To say that these tumultuous times are character-building for households and businesses alike would be a gentle euphemism.

That said, consumers and companies have shown plenty of character to navigate the enormous challenges of the last couple of years. They will need to demonstrate this again as we head towards a tough winter.

It is important, however, to bear in mind the positives. And there have been plenty of good business news stories in the latest quarter ­- from enterprises of all sizes across a raft of sectors - even amid the deepening gloom.

I hope you enjoy reading the latest edition of BusinessHQ.