North West business confidence edges upwards

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Business confidence in the North West rose five points in August to minus 10 per cent, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Companies in the North West reported higher confidence in their business prospects month-on-month at -8 per cent. When taken with their views of the economy overall, this gives a headline confidence score of -10 per cent.

When asked about the impact COVID-19 was having, the majority of firms continued to see demand negatively affected during August, but with the picture improving month-on-month. 58 per cent saw a fall in demand for products and services, down 12 points on the July.

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Some businesses expected to make redundancies following the end of the furlough scheme in October.

Glenn BemmentGlenn Bemment
Glenn Bemment

When asked about job retention among firms with furloughed staff, 31 per cent expect to bring back more than 90 per cent of their staff – the highest proportion of all UK regions.

More than a quarter (26 per cent) of North West firms surveyed said they weren’t currently using the Job Retention Scheme.

Glenn Bemment, regional director for the North West at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Month-on-month, North West firms are edging closer to regaining an overall positive outlook. The Eat Out to Help Out scheme and the allocation of government funding for construction projects across the North are just two of the economy-boosting initiatives that will have contributed to the improved picture.

“North West businesses have proven their resilience throughout this crisis, and we’ll continue to work by their side, providing support to help them to adapt and begin planning for the longer-term.”

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