Confidence is improving across most UK businesses, according to the latest business surveys, although manufacturers are less optimistic. Business lobby group the CBI said the economy was moving from “flat to growth”, although it kept its forecast for growth this year at 1%. Meanwhile, accountancy firm BDO said business confidence improved in April, particularly in the services sector.
However, BDO said the outlook for manufacturing “remains bleak”.
And the CBI said “clear challenges” remained both at home and abroad, with uncertainty in the eurozone and what it called a muted international outlook holding back investment. It said that at home, inflation presented a problem for consumers who were finding it eroding their living standards. It expects inflation to peak at 3.1% during this quarter.
The CBI’s director-general, John Cridland, said: “Amongst CBI companies, there’s a general sense that the forward mood has brightened a little.” He said the government’s Funding for Lending Scheme was beginning to have an impact: “When I talk to small businesses, they are already seeing the benefit on cost [of credit], and lower cost leads to more availability.”