London remains most confident region as firms report “surge” in prospects
Business confidence in London rose 16 points during October to 49 per cent, meaning it remained the highest of all UK regions and nations, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.
Companies in the capital reported higher confidence in their own business prospects month-on-month, up eight points at 54 per cent. When taken alongside their optimism in the economy, up 22 points to 42 per cent, this gives a headline confidence reading of 49 per cent.
London’s businesses identified their top target areas for growth in the next six months as investing in their teams (57 per cent), evolving their offering (40 per cent) and investing in sustainability (39 per cent).
A net balance of 40 per cent of London businesses expect to increase staff levels over the next year, up 13 points on last month. Overall UK business confidence fell one point during October to 15 per cent, in line with the average over the last three months.
Firms’ outlook on their future trading prospects was up two points to 27 per cent, and a net balance of 21 per cent are planning to create new jobs, up four points on last month. However, business optimism in the wider economy dropped three points to 2 per cent.
Five UK regions and nations recorded a month-on-month increase in optimism in October. After London, the North West (up 14 points to 28 per cent), Wales (up nine points to 5 per cent), West Midlands (up eight points to 27 per cent) and East of England (up eight points to 9 per cent ) all saw monthly increases.
Becci Wicks, regional director for London at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, commented: “London businesses are ahead of the pack when it comes to confidence in their trading prospects and optimism about the future, which is testament to the resilience and buoyancy of firms in the face of particularly difficult headwinds.
“What’s even more encouraging is London businesses’ increasing desire to invest in sustainability and to play their part in the transition to a net-zero future and, anecdotally, we know many are looking at this as part of their investment plans for next year.
“We’re here to help. Our Clean Growth Financing Initiative, which offers discounted lending to companies investing in sustainability, is just one of the tools that can support firms as they work towards their green ambitions.”
By Matthew Neville – Correspondent, Bdaily
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