Business confidence in the capital is the highest in the UK, despite falling two points during December to 32 per cent, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.
Despite reporting lower economic optimism at 24 per cent, London firms’ confidence in their own business prospects is holding firm at 40 per cent, the highest level of confidence in the UK.
Businesses’ hiring intentions showed that a net balance of 30 per cent of businesses in London expect to hire more staff during the next year, down five points on last month.
A net balance of nine per cent of businesses across the capital said they felt that the UK’s exit from the European Union was having a negative impact on their expectations for business activity, compared with a net balance of three per cent that thought it was having a positive impact a month ago.
Across the UK, overall confidence fell seven points to 17 per cent as firms’ economic optimism dropped 10 points to seven per cent. Companies’ confidence in their own business prospects slipped five points to 26 per cent.
The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.
Paul Evans, regional director for London at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “It’s very positive to see that business confidence is higher in the capital than any other region in the UK.
“London firms’ confidence in their own prospects is well above any other region, despite headwinds such as ongoing uncertainty and falling global demand making forward planning difficult for many.
“While that may explain why slightly fewer businesses are committing to hiring additional staff, the fact that a relatively high net balance plan to create jobs is also encouraging.”