UK business confidence reaches two-year high, research shows
Research from Lloyds Bank has shown that business confidence in the UK has reached its highest since the EU referendum in 2016.
The Business in Britain report surveyed more than 1,500 UK businesses, mostly small and medium-sized firms, to measure confidence and outlook and found that 25% were feeling confident about their expected sales, orders and profits over the next six months, up from 23% in January 2018.
The report looked at confidence levels in different regions and found that business confidence was the strongest in London, with 31% of businesses feeling positive. This was followed by the South East at 30%.
Businesses were also found to be feeling positive about exporting, with 27% of businesses expecting stronger exports over the next six months. This is an improvement on figures from January 2018, when 24% of businesses were feeling confident about exporting.
The report showed that there was little change in figures for investment and hiring plans, with 12% of businesses looking to increase investment and 8% expecting to boost their headcount, down from January’s figures of 13% and 9% respectively. This suggests that Brexit uncertainties are not having too much of a negative impact on investment and hiring decisions.
Commenting on the report, Lloyds Banking Group’s Managing Director, SME Banking Sharon Geoghegan said: “Despite concerns on the wider economy, businesses are still relatively upbeat as our latest report shows business confidence hitting a two-year high since the Brexit vote. England’s success in the World Cup will also boost the nation’s feel-good factor.”