The bank’s regional purchasing managers’ index (PMI) indicated that Scotland, Wales and every English region saw stronger activity in May than April. Yorkshire and London saw the most buoyant conditions, while the west midlands and north east of England both moved into growth.
The index gives each region a number, with any over 50 representing growth, and under 50 representing a decline. Overall, the UK registered 54.6, the highest for 14 months. Northern Irish business activity is still weak, shrinking again, but with the lowest contraction seen in 18 months.
BDO, an accountancy group, also recorded positive economic news for May. Business optimism and predicted output were at 12 and 11 month highs respectively.
Ernst & Young’s Item Club added to the projection of an upswing in the economy, indicating that consumer spending would continue to build up. The forecast predicted consumption growth of 1.2 per cent this year, and a further 1.9 per cent next year.
Peter Spencer, chief economic advisor to the group said: “the Treasury’s plan to move from an economy dependent on consumption to one led by exports and business investment has been put on hold”, adding, “a happy coincidence of converging factors, supported by government policies around income tax and the housing market, will lead to the revival of consumer spending”.