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Optimistic businesses in the East buck national trend on confidence

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Business confidence in the East of England jumped 15 points in July to 46 per cent, the highest reading of any UK region and bucking a less optimistic national trend, according to a business barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. Firms in the East reported higher confidence in their own business prospects - up 22 points at 59 per cent and also a national high - and to a lesser extent, increased optimism on the economy. The region’s firms identified their growth priorities for the next six months as diversifying into new markets, investing in their teams and evolving their offer. Meanwhile, a net balance of 36 per cent of businesses in the region expect to increase staff levels over the next year, up 10 points on last month. But business people in the East appeared to be more optimistic than elsewere in the country; overall UK business confidence fell three points during July to 25 per cent. Nationally only four out of 11 nations and regions recorded a higher reading in July than in June. Dene Jones, regional director for the East of England at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Leading the way in business confidence among all UK regions and nations is no mean feat, and it is testament to the resilience of our firms here in the East.”

Supply chain issues are the biggest threat to business success over the next six months for nearly a third of mid-sized businesses in East Anglia but despite this around the same proportion are looking to grow their workforce according to a survey, Rethinking the Economy, from BDO. More than 40 per cent of firms are increasing starting salary offers because of increased competition for talent. Meanwhile, a third of firms are most concerned about the ongoing impact of Brexit, according to the survey.