North West firms most confident in UK

Date published: 28 February 2019

Businesses in the North West are the most confident in the UK, despite overall confidence falling during February, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Companies in the North West report lower confidence in their business prospects, down 11 points to 18 per cent, and lower economic optimism, which fell five points to six per cent. Together, this gives an overall confidence of 12 per cent, seven points down on January.

Despite this, the region was still the most confident of all UK regions.

Meanwhile, a net balance of 18 per cent of firms in the region expect to hire more staff over the next 12 months, up three points on a month ago, demonstrating the region’s resilience.

Across the UK, firms’ confidence in their own trading prospects fell 14 points to 13 per cent while economic confidence fell by 15 points to minus five per cent.

The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.

Martyn Kendrick, regional director for the North West at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “It’s encouraging to see that confidence in the North West remains higher than in other regions, despite a fall in confidence nationally. While some local firms may be cautious about the year ahead, there are still enough opportunities to encourage them to increase their headcount and capacity.”

Across the region, a net balance of 14 per cent of businesses said they felt that the UK’s exit from the European Union was having a negative impact on their expectations for business activity, up one point on a month ago.

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