“CAUTIOUS optimism” is returning across most business sectors, according to the latest regional Chamber of Commerce quarterly economic survey.

Firms reported a surge in domestic sales as lockdown restrictions eased.

Suzanne Watson, president of Bradford Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the positivity but also sounded a note of caution.

She said: “There is significantly more positivity this quarter with nearly all of our measures on an upwards trajectory – domestic sales rebounded, investment intentions are also more positive and there is strong evidence that employment is increasing across the region.

“However, there are some areas which we need to be mindful of – notably international sales activities remain subdued as trade with the EU continues to challenge firms. We also report significant increases in costs, driven largely by rising charges for haulage and shipping along with raw material shortages driving-up prices. Firms are increasingly expected to pass on these costs in the form of price rises. Also, as loan repayments become due over the coming months, this may put strain on sustaining the current levels of growth.”