Households and small firms confident about UK growth

Tim Wallace
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SMALL businesses are increasingly confident in the state of the UK economy, according to a study out yesterday from insurance firm Zurich, as the recovery becomes increasingly entrenched.

And although consumer confidence slipped a touch in the run up to the General Election, Lloyds Bank figures show households aided by falling energy bills, brought on by lower oil prices.

Zurich’s survey shows 61 per cent of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are not worried about market dynamics, soaring from 46 per cent two years ago.

The proportion concerned about the overall economic environment has dropped from 79 per cent to 56 per cent over the same period.

Meanwhile Lloyds’ spending power report shows a small dip in confidence ahead of the General Election, though its index remains close to record highs. A big boost has come from energy costs – electricity bills are down 8.8 per cent on the year, while gas costs have fallen by 6.7 per cent.

“Households retain a positive view of their financial situation, as a pickup in wage growth and muted inflationary pressures combine to strengthen real incomes,” said Lloyds Bank’s chief economist Patrick Foley.