Optimism on the future of the UK economy has plummeted among bosses according to a new survey

Mark Sands
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Half of bosses are either very or quite pessimistic on the future of the UK economy (Source: Getty)

Business leaders are pleading with the government to restore faith in the wider economy next week after a survey showed confidence amongst bosses plummeting through October.

While optimism had been growing in the aftermath the summer referendum, new figures from the Institute of Directors show expectations fell dramatically last month.

An IoD survey of over 1,000 bosses found that 50 per cent were either “very” or “quite” pessimistic on the future of the UK economy.

By contrast, just one in three directors said the same when interviewed in September.

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However, while confidence in the economy has plummeted through the last month, bosses remain reasonably robust when probed on the fortunes of their own businesses.

Only 21 per cent told the IoD that they were pessimistic about their primary organisation, up only slightly from 18 per cent in September.

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IoD Simon Walker director general said: “Business leaders are becoming experts at living with political uncertainty. We can’t know yet the future shape of the UK’s relationship with the EU, or the direction in which Donald Trump will take America, but we do know that Britain’s economic fortunes are dependent on our companies continuing to hire and invest.

“The good news is that our members are more optimistic about their companies. Their natural response to more difficult trading conditions is to innovate and seek out new customers.”

It comes a week before chancellor Philip Hammond presents his first Autumn Statement on 23 November, and the IoD is demanding a raft of measures to boost confidence, including a radical consultation to find a replacement of for “increasingly poorly-suited” corporation tax, and a “white list” for authentic tax-planning that will not be caught up in future avoidance clamp downs.

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