London firms see better profits as confidence hits 2010 levels

COMPANIES in the capital were at their most confident in over three years during the third quarter, according to research released today.

The latest survey of London’s businesses by Grant Thornton and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) points to the strongest sentiment seen since the second quarter of 2010, the time of the last general election.

Companies are reporting improvements in turnover and profits, which have risen 3.6 and 2.3 per cent in the past 12 months, according to the survey.

They also expect the situation to improve considerably, projecting turnover to rise by 5.1 per cent and profit by 4.4 per cent in the year ahead, indicating that firms may begin to ramp up their capital spending and increase investment.

The firms questioned suggested that they had employed 2.4 per cent more people in the year to the third quarter, twice as many as in the 12 months before that.

Ian Smart of Grant Thornton said: “From the discussions we are having with London businesses, these findings certainly better reflect the mood, and the improvement in operating conditions they are experiencing. The business environment is steadying.”

He added: “We’re pleased to see that employment expectations are on the rise, reinforcing the suggestion that the private sector remains willing to create jobs.”