A new survey by Lloyds Bank Business has shown that confidence among UK businesses has hit record highs. The survey is based on responses from 1,500 firms and show that British companies are feeling more confident than at any time in the past 22 years.
Increasing orders, sales and profits in the next six months has meant business confidence has reached its highest level since the survey began in 1992.
Confidence has increased in all regions across the UK but has been particularly strong in the South West, North East, Yorkshire and East Midlands.
The strongest rise in confidence is among smaller businesses with turnovers of less than £1m. Reportedly 31% of businesses have also planned to increase their staff numbers for the second half of 2014.
Since the last report in January, the confidence index has increased 53%, which represents the fifth consecutive increase. The previous high was 46%, recorded in January 1994.
The survey also showed that pricing power is returning for many companies, giving firms more scope for increasing prices over the next six months. Firms anticipate increasing prices anywhere from 1% to 24%. This is the highest balance since 2008 when the average was 33%.
Despite the strength of sterling, there was also optimism on exports. On average businesses are looking to increase their exports by 51% over the next six months.
The improvement in trading conditions has resulted in the numbers of corporate insolvencies dipping from the high of 25,633 in 2009 to just over 18,800 in 2013. The 2014 stats so far were marginally higher than the first quarter figures for 2013.
Bev Budsworth from The Business Debt Advisor adds, “We have continued to be busy as Insolvency Practitioners but the type of work is changing. We are involved with more solvent liquidations for large groups of companies where management are looking to cut out unnecessary financial costs for maintaining dormant companies. Bev continues “Recovery often delivers more challenging insolvencies as there are more buyers for distressed businesses. All in all it looks like we have some interesting times ahead.”
The Business Debt Advisor have overseen the completion of numerous successful CVA’s and administrations over the years. Molly Monks heads up The Business Debt Advisor team and she will be happy to advise on all available financial solutions, including CVA’s, PVA’s and Administrations plus our Business Turnaround Service. Molly and her team can be contacted on 0800 848 8037. If calling from a mobile you can reach us on 0161 868 2500.