Business Confidence Rebounds To Pre-Brexit Vote Levels In Survey

Confidence among UK businesses rebounded in September to levels not seen since before the Brexit vote, according to a new survey.

The latest UK Economic Index run by YouGov and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) showed that business confidence rose to 112.4 last month, after dropping to 105.0 in July and 109.7 in August.

A reading above 100 indicates positive business sentiment.

The survey, which polled more than 500 business leaders between September 15 to 23, also showed that 44% of businesses were now optimistic about the UK's economic prospects over the next 12 months, compared with 35% in August.

That left only 35% of businesses pessimistic about the British economy, compared with 45% a month earlier.

Scott Corfe, a director at the CEBR, said: "The panic that gripped businesses in the aftermath of the referendum has subsided and they are now much more level-headed and optimistic about the future of both their own organisations and the UK's economy in general."

The figures echo positive data in the latest Markit/CIPS services purchasing managers' index (PMI) released on Wednesday, which showed a better-than-expected performance in September, providing further evidence that the sector was recovering from a shock contraction after the Brexit vote.

YouGov and CEBR figures released last week also showed a continued recovery in consumer confidence, rising to 111.1, up one point from August. Consumer confidence is still two points shy of the pre-referendum reading.

But Mr Corfe cautioned that recent comments from the Conservative Party could have a notable impact on business sentiment.

He said: "It should be noted that this research was carried out before the Conservative Party conference and all the talk of 'hard Brexit' implying that the UK would prioritise immigration restrictions over access to the European single market.

"Once the shape of our economic relationship with the EU becomes clearer, these figures could shift notably."