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Cambridgeshire and the East firms ‘most confident in the UK’ for business prospects

The Business Barometer surveys 1,200 businesses monthly

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Business confidence in the East of England rose eight points during April to 56%, making the region’s firms the most confident in the UK, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. Companies in the region reported higher confidence in their own business prospects month-on-month, up two points at 55%.

When taken alongside their optimism in the economy, up 14 points to 58%, this gives a headline confidence reading of 56% – compared to 48% in March and the third consecutive monthly rise in confidence for the region.

nFirms’ optimism in their own trading prospects rose by two points to 55%, while optimism in the economy climbed 14 points to 58% Overall UK confidence held steady at 42% in April – the same level as in March and February

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The East’s businesses identified their top target areas for growth in the next six months as evolving their offering with new products and services (39%), investing in their team, including hiring new people and investing training (37%) and investing in sustainability (28%).

A net balance of 33% of businesses in the region also expect to increase staff levels over the next year, up one point on last month.

The Business Barometer, which surveys 1,200 businesses monthly, provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.

Paul Evans, regional director for the East at Lloyds Bank, said: “We always talk about starting off the year on the right foot and the East’s businesses are showing us how it’s done.

“The region has notched up three consecutive months of growth already to become the UK’s most confident – no other region or nation has achieved that feat this year.

“And this confidence is set to be buoyed further by the progress of game-changing developments across the region.

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“The government is investing millions in Suffolk’s electric vehicle infrastructure and plans to extend offshore wind farms off the Norfolk coast have also been given the green light.

“These are examples of the sort of positive activity that we know helps to fuel confidence, and we’ll remain by the side of businesses as they prioritise projects of their own to grow and become more sustainable.”

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Overall, UK business confidence held steady at 42% in April, the same level as recorded in March and February.

While firms’ confidence in their own prospects dipped marginally by four points to 45%, their confidence in the economy rose by four points to 39%. Meanwhile, the net balance of companies planning to increase staff levels over the coming 12 months climbed six points to 33%.

Paul Evans

Paul is the Regional Director for the South East Region, covering businesses with turnover from £3-100m and a team of 65 across Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, and Berkshire.

Paul has worked for Lloyds Bank for over 37 years and covered a range of roles across the Group.

 

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