Business confidence edging higher in the East of England, says Lloyds Bank Outlook report

Steve Elsom of Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Steve Elsom of Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. - Credit: Archant

Business confidence in the East of England improved slightly during the final quarter of 2016, with the region remaining one of the most optimistic areas of the UK, according to the latest Business in Britain report from Lloyds Bank.

The region’s confidence index – an average of expectations for sales, orders and profits over the next six months – rose in to 20%, from 19% in the last survey in September.

This makes the East the third most optimistic among the UK’s nations and regions, behind only the North East (on 22%) and Scotland (21%) and ahead of neighbours London (9%), the East Midlands (12%) and the South East (15%).

The threats most commonly identified by firms in the East of England for the next six months were economic uncertainty (mentioned by 28%) followed by weaker UK demand (21%) as firms wait for further details of Britain’s European Union exit strategy.

Other factors cited as threats included political uncertainty (8%), regulation (5%), weaker overseas demand (4%) and input costs (also 4%).

Steve Elsom, regional director for SME in the East of England at Lloyds Banking Commercial Banking, said: “Business confidence in the East of England has stabilised since September, a sign that firms are entering 2017 with optimism ready to deliver increased growth, which will contribute significantly to the regional economy.”