Region’s businesses still postponing investment despite ‘increased confidence’

Steve Elsom, regional director for the East of England at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. Picture: B

Steve Elsom, regional director for the East of England at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. Picture: Bernard Pound - Credit: Bernard Pound

East of England businesses are continuing to postpone investment plans despite a rise in confidence.

The latest Lloyds Bank Business in Britain survey revealed companies are more confident now than at any point since the EU referendum.

But despite confidence – calculated as an average of respondents' expected sales, orders and profits over the next six months – rising seven percentage points to 25% in the past six months, firms in the East are not increasing their investment or recruitment plans.

The net balance of firms looking to grow investment in the next six months has fallen by seven points since the start of the year, while the net balance of those looking to hire more staff fell by three points.

Meanwhile the share of firms which reported difficulties in recruiting skilled labour rose by three points to 38%.

The Lloyds report analyses confidence, hiring intentions and the biggest perceived challenges among businesses.

Steve Elsom, Lloyds Bank regional director for the East of England, said: 'Despite confidence growing, many firms have become more cautious in their investment plans.

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'While there is a degree to which firms must be prudent amid such uncertainty, businesses need to make sure they are not missing out on the opportunities that still exist, despite the current turbulence.'