A survey by Lloyds bank has found that business confidence is at a 20 year high, with companies predicting strong sales, profits and export potential in the coming months.
The study of 1,500 businesses across the UK found that those in every region had grown in confidence. Companies in southwest England were found to be the most optimistic about their prospects, with the northeast, Yorkshire, East Midlands and eastern England all showing high levels of confidence. London came in just below the average, whilst companies in Wales and the northwest reported the lowest levels of confidence.
The survey’s Business Confidence Index works by tracking business’ expectations of sales, orders and profits over the next six months and then weighing the percentage of firms with a positive outlook against those with more negative predictions. In the 2014 report, the confidence index rose to 45% – up 15 points from July 2013.
With businesses planning to hire more staff, investment intentions at their highest point in 19 years and companies at their most optimistic about the economy since 2007, many hope that the report is an indicator of renewed economic and employment growth. Tim Hinton, Managing Director of Mid Markets and SME Banking at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “This is an encouraging improvement in confidence as we start 2014 and we hope that it will lead to a sustainable UK recovery allowing British businesses to grow and prosper.”