Confidence rises despite threats

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Business confidence in Yorkshire and Humber is continuing to increase, according to the region’s accountants.

The latest survey by the Institute of Chartered Accountants and business advisers Grant Thornton shows confidence has been on the up for four consecutive quarters, but regional director Chris Manners says there are still worries.

Mr Manners says: “I’m meeting a lot of businesses just now that are reporting quite good performance and prospects, but most of them also report looming threats.”

He cites access to finance, regrading by credit rating agencies and the external threats from the Eurozone as potential problems, adding: “Recovery is there, but it’s still fragile.”

Paul Houghton, partner at the Sheffield office of Grant Thornton, said: “Export growth rose slightly this quarter as the global economy picked up.

“This could be a sign that the export-led recovery we need may be beginning. With a number of innovative, dynamic businesses in the region, Yorkshire companies are increasingly engaging with an international audience and successfully exploring overseas markets.

“This is coupled with improvement in both profit and turnover growth, which companies expect to increase in the year ahead.

“Despite a rise in confidence though, companies’ modest plans for capital investment are a worry.”