Jessica Fino 1 May 2018 03:08pm

UK businesses the most optimistic since Brexit vote

Optimism among UK businesses has jumped in the last quarter, but remains behind the record optimism reached among global companies

According to Grant Thornton’s international business report, global optimism reached a net 61% in the first quarter of the year, the highest in 25 years of research.

Meanwhile UK business optimism jumped 19% to a net of 31%, the highest level since the Brexit vote took place.

The report said that confidence among US firms hit a record of 89%, while in France it hit 75%. In Greece, optimism entered into positive territory for the first time in three years.

Back in the UK, 58% of companies expect to see their revenues increase, while the number of businesses expecting to hire more employees over the coming year rose 9% to 38%.

Robert Hannah, partner at Grant Thornton, said, “UK businesses are at their most optimistic since the historic vote to leave the EU nearly two years ago, with confidence boosted by signs that a deal on Brexit looks increasingly likely and the recalibration of the Pound over recent months offering another sign of confidence in the UK economy.

“However, as we saw in last week’s GDP figures, this optimism is yet to translate into material economic output. The lower-than-expected growth in the first quarter of the year means we’re increasingly unlikely to see an interest rate rise imminently, which should provide a further impetus for businesses to ‘pull the trigger’ on investments for future growth. With a rate rise still on the cards this year, making these investments early on could prove prudent in enabling growth over the years to come.”

Hannah said that businesses shouldn’t neglect the opportunities available in the international marketplace. He urged UK businesses to adopt a more international perspective on their offering and develop export strategies which capitalise on growth opportunities abroad.