Economic confidence is returning after a sharp fall in December 2014, but there is still some way to go until we reach the giddy heights of the summer 2014 survey results. Until the December survey when respondents were particularly gloomy about the global economic outlook, past Bellwether surveys had seen a steady increase in confidence in economic conditions, climaxing at 81% in July 2014. This dipped to 33% in December, but since a more decisive election result than was predicted, confidence is once again on the rise. This is particularly true for the UK economic outlook which has seen a 64% increase in terms of confidence.
This optimism is not translating into plans for expansion in the UK and Europe, however, with two thirds of businesses anticipating no change to their expansion plans as a result of the election. This could be down to nervousness around the UK’s position on membership of the EU, and 63% said that a UK exit would cause some or significant damage to their company. One of the top three manifesto commitments of the new Conservative Government that companies would most like to see carried forward is an EU referendum and there were calls for ‘a clear fact-based debate on the EU question’.
Companies would also like to see less red tape – the number one manifesto commitment that companies would like to see carried forward - and no change to corporation tax.
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