Business leaders’ confidence in the British economy has sunk to its lowest level in over 18 months, surpassing the collapse in optimism that followed the inconclusive result of the 2017 general election, a new poll of over 700 company directors reveals.
The IoD’s Confidence Tracker showed that overall optimism had briefly reached positive territory earlier this year following the initial agreement of a Brexit transition period, but has fallen steadily since April and hit its lowest point this month. All regions and nations of the UK are now reporting a pessimistic outlook for the 12 months ahead.
Investment levels are also likely to remain subdued in the same period (with a net balance of just 7% of business leaders expected to invest more). Meanwhile, the top concerns for directors, besides the UK’s general economic conditions, are the uncertain trading future with the EU and skills shortages.
While business leaders were pessimistic about the economy, confidence in their own firms remained relatively upbeat. In general, firm-level optimism has been less badly affected by political events in 2018 than overall economic confidence.