Lloyds’ business barometer showed a net balance of 20 per cent feel pessimistic about the future, up from 15 per cent in October’s study.
Meanwhile a separate study from Barclays revealed 43 per cent of business leaders have shelved plans to invest because of market turmoil.
Only one third believe the government can drive an economic recovery, whilst another third see the crisis as too global for the government to resolve.
“It is clear that UK corporates believe the economic recovery is not going to be government led,” said Barclays’s Ian Stuart.
“Businesses accept they have to compete their way to better times.”