Business confidence in the East of England is on the rise - bucking a UK-wide trend of falling optimism, new figures suggest. 

Lloyds Bank’s Business Barometer for November 2022 - a monthly poll of 1,200 companies - showed confidence among East firms rising seven points to 16pc.

Meanwhile, UK confidence overall fell by five per cent to stand at 10%. However, all regions of the UK reported a positive reading - except the South East.

The Lloyds survey was conducted between November 1 and 15 - before chancellor Jeremy Hunt's Autumn Statement of November 17.

The reading in the East of England firms was the highest since July 2022 - but other regions saw greater jumps.

Scotland was the most optimistic overall - up 19 points to 24pc, Wales rose 12 points to 17pc and the South West went up nine points to 5pc.

In the East of England, companies reported higher confidence in their own business prospects month-on-month with a rise of eight points at 29pc. Optimism in the economy rose eight points to 4pc - to give a headline confidence reading of 16pc. 

They saw their top target areas for growth in the next six months as evolving their offering (43pc), investing in sustainability (27pc) and diversifying into new markets (23pc).

A net balance of 17% of businesses in the region expect to increase their workforce numbers over the next year.

Dene Jones, regional director for the East of England at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said the figures reflected firms in the region feeling on more stable footing after a turbulent summer.

East Anglian Daily Times:

"The region’s pubs and bars, in particular, will be hoping to make the most of a lengthy performance by England in the World Cup followed by the first Christmas in three years not disrupted by Covid-19 restrictions," he said.

"Maintaining this momentum, however, and driving growth in 2023 will require careful management, especially when facing into headwinds like a slower UK economy.

"Those seeking to capitalise on opportunities should ensure they are prepared financially to take the chances that come along, and exploring tools such as invoice discounting to free up the cash they need to invest will be important."