Vaccine's arrival boosts business confidence in North West

Business confidence in the North West has risen – almost certainly because of the arrival of the coronavirus vaccine.

Tuesday, 22nd December 2020, 3:45 pm
Preston city centre

But overall, confidence in the region was the lowest in the UK in December, despite rising 15 points month-on-month to minus 13 per cent, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

North West firms’ optimism towards the economy increased 19 points month-on-month to minus 12 per cent.

Confidence in their own business prospects rose 14 points on November’s reading to minus 12 per cent.

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Together, this gives a headline confidence figure of minus 13 per cent .

But businesses’ hiring intentions showed that 15 per cent of firms in the region expect to reduce staff levels over the next year, down 14 points on last month

Martyn Kendrick, regional director for the North West at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “With the deployment of a vaccine underway and a viable Covid-19 exit strategy beginning to take shape, confidence has risen in the North West with a smaller share of companies expecting to reduce headcounts month-on-month.

“But challenges are clearly still weighing on the outlook of the region’s firms.”

He added: “No matter what the coming months may bring, we’ll continue to be by the side of businesses in the North West, providing the guidance and support they need as we head into the new year, and beyond.”

Across the UK, overall confidence saw its largest monthly increase for more than four years in December, following vaccine progression announcements but before the new Tier 4 rulings for much of the South.

Confidence climbed by seventeen points to minus four 4 per cent in November.

Economic optimism jumped 23 points to minus five per cent.

All 12 UK nations and regions saw a rise in overall confidence during December.