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2013: Cautious Optimism?

Despite growing threat of a triple dip recession, the downgrading of the UK’s credit rating and the ongoing harsh austerity measures and cuts, many UK businesses are remaining confident going into 2013. This cautious optimism has been captured by the Business Barometer, a report that gives an insight into what business across the UK are thinking. While the banks don’t seem to be lending more, the increasingly popular nature of alternative finance might have something to do with this confidence.

This report, based on a survey of around 300 senior businesspeople in small and medium sized companies had some surprising findings. Despite ongoing gloom and doom, 70% expected there to be growth in their sector in the coming quarter. What’s more, 58% were either ‘confident’ or ‘very confident’ in the UK economy’s prospects over the coming three months of 2013. Similarly, a third of businesses expected to expand this year.

This all comes after the final quarter of 2012 where businesses were finally experiencing a bit of stability; more than half of respondents said that their turnover had remained the same when compared to Q3 of 2012. There was a similar answer with regards to employee numbers, with nearly half saying that their headcount had remained steady.

David Saul, managing director of Business Environment, said: “One of the main messages to come from the report was that while few companies are thriving, a large amount are on an even keel. Nearly half a decade after the beginning of the financial crisis, the initial fallout is now over and businesses are beginning to adjust to a long period of austerity and reduced consumer demand.”

“We see this reflected in much of the survey’s findings. Companies are not growing at a fast rate, but they remain confident about the long-term prospects for their firms. Companies complain about bank lending, but few expect the economy to tank in 2013.”


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