30 Aug Business confidence falls for second month running in East of England
Business confidence in the East of England fell five points during August to four per cent, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.
Companies in the East of England reported lower confidence in their business prospects at 10 per cent. Together with their views on the outlook for the economy, this gives an overall confidence of four per cent.
Businesses’ hiring intentions showed that a net balance of seven per cent of businesses in the region expect to hire more staff during the next year, down five points on last month.
Across the UK, overall confidence slipped to one per cent, as businesses became less optimistic towards the economic outlook, while confidence in their own prospects fell to eight per cent.
The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.
David Atkinson, regional director for the East of England at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “It’s disappointing to see business confidence falling for another month, but it reflects the uncertainty that is currently prevailing across the UK.
“At Lloyds Bank, we’re committed to standing by the side of businesses – we’ve pledged £1.7 billion to support firms in the region this year and look forward to seeing business confidence grow again in the coming months.”
Across the region, a net balance of ten per cent of businesses said they felt that the UK’s exit from the European Union was having a negative impact on their expectations for business activity, down 16 points on a month ago.
Businesses in the West Midlands showed the most confidence, at 15 per cent, ahead of the South West (11 per cent) and London (seven per cent).
Those in Scotland were the least confident, with an overall confidence of minus nine per cent, 10 points below the national average.
In August, business confidence in the construction sector rose by six points to 12 per cent. Meanwhile, overall confidence fell by 16 points to three per cent in the manufacturing sector, and by 11 points to six per cent in retail, the lowest levels seen for those sectors this year. Confidence was also down 15 points to minus three per cent in the services sector, bringing it near to the February low of minus four per cent.