Business confidence remains ‘worryingly low’ amid concerns over inflation, interest rates and tax
Business confidence remains ‘worryingly low’ after the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement amid concerns over inflation, interest rates and tax.
A survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) found that after sentiment slumped over the summer it had remained in the doldrums during the fourth quarter of last year.
It comes after Jeremy Hunt’s reversal of the disastrous mini-Budget settled volatile currency and bond markets but signalled a ratcheting up of the UK’s tax burden to the highest level since the Second World War.
Gloom: A survey by the British Chambers of Commerce found that after confidence slumped over the summer it had remained in the doldrums during the fourth quarter of last year
Firms face a rise in corporation tax from 19 per cent to 25 per cent in April.David Bharier, the BCC’s head of research, said: ‘The Autumn Statement on 17 November appears to have had no impact on business confidence.’
The survey of 5,600 firms in November – 92 per cent of them small or medium-sized businesses – said confidence about profits remained at Covid-crisis levels.
Just 34 per cent believed profits would rise in 2023 while 36 per cent expected a decline.
Only a third saw sales rise over the past three months while 25 per cent reported a fall, with the hospitality sector least likely to have enjoyed growth.
More firms were reporting tax and interest rates as business concerns while inflation remained highest on the list with 80 per cent of firms worried about it.
Bharier said: ‘Business confidence remains worryingly low. For many, the cost of doing business is now simply too high.’