Finance bosses think companies are ready to splash out this year

Marion Dakers
CHIEF financial officers at Britain’s biggest companies say UK firms are happy to spend money this year as lending conditions improve and hopes rise about the economy.

Seven in 10 finance bosses expect UK firms to hire more this year, while 65 per cent predict higher capital expenditure and 46 per cent believe discretionary spending will rise. This compares to CFOs predicting a slide in all three measures of spending a year ago.

Almost three in 10 CFOs said expansion was a strong priority for their firm this year, while just under a quarter are prioritising defensive moves, according to Deloitte’s survey of 122 finance chiefs. And CFOs reckon there is a 16 per cent chance of a recession in Britain in the next two years, down from 40 per cent a year ago. In spite of the rosy outlook, just 23 per cent expect an interest rate rise in 2014.

“Uncertainty and credit shortages, two major blocks on business activity, have eased substantially and CFOs believe that the level of financial and economic risk facing their businesses has reduced significantly in the last year,” said Deloitte chief economist Ian Stewart.

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