Monitors report a dip in confidence among North West firms

The latest ICAEW & Grant Thornton UK Business Confidence Monitor has determined that confidence has fallen from the all-time peak of last quarter of to +27.8

Businesses in the North West are showing a fall in confidence levels in the third quarter of 2014, according to the latest findings of ICAEW/Grant Thornton UK’s Business Confidence Monitor. However, while confidence levels have fallen from their all-time high they are still tracking at a higher level than those seen a year ago in Q3 2013.

In spite of this fall in confidence from the prior quarter, optimism amongst businesses in the North West remains relatively high, with profits up 4.5% compared to the 2.4% seen a year ago. Nontheless, much like the rest of the UK, performance has been mostly driven by domestic demand.

The ICAEW/Grant Thornton survey has found that 19% of businesses have reported that non-management skills are a much greater challenge than in 2013, but this will be counteracted by the anticipated growth of staff development budgets in the next year.

Carl Williams, managing partner for the North West at Grant Thornton accountancy firm said:

“The recovery that began in the service sector has since been mirrored in manufacturing and construction, which has helped drive the previous improvements in business confidence.

“The latest dip in the figures probably reflects the fact that the recovery is steady as opposed to spectacular. That said the economic growth we are seeing appears to be built on solid foundations.”

Melanie Christie, ICAEW regional director for the North West, added:

“This slight fall in confidence demonstrates that businesses are becoming more realistic about the future.

“The imbalances in our economic recovery that were masked by rising confidence continue to persist – our exports remain weak, and skills remain a challenge.

“We look to the Bank of England and the Government to work harder to ensure that the recovery is placed on a broader footing before we see this still relatively high optimism erode away.”



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