Business confidence up but investment remains flat

05 Jan 2024

Business confidence improved in the final quarter of last year although investment remained flat, according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

The BCC's Quarterly Economic Survey – the UK's largest and longest-running independent business survey – shows a small rise in business confidence in the final quarter of 2023.

The percentage of firms expecting an increase in turnover over the next year (56%) has risen to the highest level since Q1 2022 when Covid restrictions were lifted.

However, challenging economic conditions continue to impact heavily on business investment. 58% of businesses said investment had remained the same, and 19% reported a decrease.

Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the BCC, said: 'Worries about interest rates and inflation remain at historically high levels, despite a slight easing of concern.

'The recruitment challenges many firms are facing underlines our calls for a skills plan from government alongside an affordable immigration system.

'Investment continues to the Achilles' heel for business. The Chancellor's decision in his Autumn Statement to make full expensing permanent was very welcome. 2024 needs to be the year when companies are given further assistance to invest.

'In the noisy election year ahead, it is crucial politicians remain focused on growing the economy and helping businesses thrive.'

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