Turnaround in confidence levels by South West firms points to strong growth this year

June 1, 2017

Confidence among businesses in the South West is back in positive territory after a sustained period of decline, according to a new survey.

The latest quarterly ICAEW Business Confidence Monitor shows investment plans in the region are stronger than the UK average in areas such as employment, staff development and capital investment.

The survey findings for the second quarter in the South West show that business confidence stands at plus 12.8 and predictions for the year ahead are bullish, with domestic sales growth of 6.5% anticipated. If that is achieved, it would represent a record high in the region.

Export sales in the region are strong (5.2% up) and domestic sales are rising at 4.6% compared to 2.6% a year ago

Investment plans in the region are stronger than the UK average and employment is expected to rise by more than 3% in the year ahead, compared to the UK rate of 1.8%.

ICAEW South West director Martin Warren said: “It’s encouraging to see that confidence in the South West is starting to rise after a sustained period of decline.

“The region’s specialisms include aerospace, digital technologies and the motor industry, which have had a good start to 2017. In addition, the South West is likely to benefit from a rise in the number of domestic ‘staycationers’ this year, who are discouraged from overseas holidays by the weak pound.

“Businesses in the region certainly appear optimistic regarding the economic outlook for the year ahead, although it is likely some uncertainty will remain as businesses will be waiting to see what happens in the political arena, particularly in relation to how EU negotiations play out.”


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