East firms ‘the most positive in the UK’

THE East of England’s economy grew strongly during the second quarter of the year, according to a new survey, with businesses in the region the most positive in the UK in their expectations for the year ahead.

In line with national trends, Insight East’s Quarterly Economic Brief for the period from April to June, said the region’s construction sector saw the biggest jump in activity compared with the first three months of the year.

However, manufacturing, business services and finance also sustained their recovery, with manufacturing business in the region seeing an improvement in exports well ahead of the sector nationally.

Insight East, the economic intelligence unit at the East of England Development Agency, compiles the QEB from data and reports from other national and regional organisations.

Businesses in the East of England are more positive in their expectations for profits and sales over the coming year than any other UK region, says the report. It also says that the financial pressures on businesses are continuing to improve, with access to finance easing, and although it acknowledges that public spending cut may affect the rate of growth and confidence levels in the coming months, it says that unemployment is likely to rise at a slower rate than earlier predictions.

Glenn Athey, director of Insight East, said: “Businesses in the region are bullish about future growth, and confidence about economic conditions is becoming more embedded which is good news. Cuts in public funding could dent this confidence but building expertise, capacity and knowledge will help businesses to take advantage of growing overseas markets.”