Monday 23rd April 2018
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East of England firms planning to recruit and invest despite uncertain times

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Businesses in the East of England are planning to expand investment and recruitment over the coming year despite a dip in confidence, according to the latest Business in Britain report from Lloyds Bank.

The net balance of firms looking to grow investment in the next six months rose by five points to 14 per cent whilst the balance planning to hire more staff rose by five points to 10 per cent, compared with last July. Meanwhile the share of firms reporting difficulties hiring skilled labour fell sharply from 62 per cent last July to 35 per cent. But the numbers expecting to increase wages rose by just five points to 11 per cent, suggesting businesses are still taking a cautious approach to pay.

The East of England emerged as one of the less confident regions, with a balance of firms reporting business optimism falling four points to 18 points.  Steve Elsom, regional director of SME banking in the East of England at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Despite the slight dip in business confidence, firms in the East of England are continuing to plan for future growth in the new year. Many are looking to boost their investment and staff numbers, which is very encouraging.” Nationally, the only sector which saw a significant fall in confidence was construction, where it dropped from 31 per cent to 14 per cent.