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Optimism up among business leaders
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Thursday, 03 January 2013 14:03

 

There is a growing sense of economic optimism for the year ahead compared to 12 months ago, a poll of business directors has suggested.

Business leaders are starting 2013 with a better outlook on the coming year than at the beginning of 2012, a survey of 1,369 members of the Institute of Directors (IoD) found.

According to the findings, the proportion who expect 2013 to improve on the previous year exceeds those with a pessimistic outlook by a margin of plus 31%, a direct reversal from the start of 2012, when the balance of opinion was minus 31%.

The poll suggested long-term confidence has also increased, with the balance of those expecting higher UK GDP growth over the coming decade compared to the previous 10 years rising to plus 22%, compared to minus 9% in the first quarter of 2012, minus 8% in second quarter and plus 10% in the third quarter.

Views on the probability of a return to recession have fallen, with 16% deeming the risk high, 49% moderate and 34% low.

This compares to 35% who said the risk was high, 53% moderate and 11% low at the start of 2012. The number foreseeing a high risk of a triple-dip recession has fallen from approximately one in three to one in six.

 

Business leaders expressed support for deficit reduction, with 57% saying Chancellor George Osborne should stick with the current policy, while 22% said deficit reduction should be tougher, 19% supported an easing off and only 1% said they would like to see a reversal of the policy.

The survey found the Chancellor's approval rating at plus 11%, down from his peak of plus 54% at the time of the April 2011 Budget, but higher than the plus 5% who thought he would do a good job prior to the 2010 general election.

Institute of Directors chief economist Graeme Leach said 2012 "was a tough year, but business leaders expect 2013 to be much better". The risk of a return to recession and a triple dip has not gone away, but it is receding fast, and expectations of growth are rising, he said.

He added: "George Osborne's approval ratings have suffered, but he retains business support overall. The deficit reduction programme in particular has overwhelming backing from UK directors - the Government absolutely must not waver from the course."

The Press Association, photo by HM Treasury

 

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