Thursday 30 January 2020 12:01 am

London business confidence soars to highest in UK following election

Business confidence in London jumped during January as the decisive General Election result helped boost the morale of firms in the capital, figures released today show.

The business confidence of London companies leapt 22 points to 38 per cent in January, reaching the highest level of any region, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank. 

Companies in the capital reported higher confidence in their business prospects (39 per cent) and increased economic optimism (37 per cent) during the first month of the new decade.

“It’s hugely encouraging to see a significant increase in the confidence of firms across the capital, which looks to reflect the greater political and economic certainty ahead,” said Paul Evans, regional director for London at Lloyds Bank.

Some 23 per cent of London firms expect to hire more staff over the next year, up four points compared to December’s reading.

Evans said Lloyds “expect more investment to follow as businesses revive growth plans that might have been put on hold”. 

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Seven per cent of London firms said they felt Brexit was having a negative impact on their expectations for business activity, down from just over a quarter of firms last month.

Across the UK, overall business confidence rose 13 points to 23 per cent, with optimism in the economy jumping 22 points to 24 per cent, and confidence in their own prospects climbing four points to 22 per cent.

“After a turbulent 2019, it is encouraging to see a solid rise in overall business confidence to start the new decade. These results, if sustained, could signal a stronger economic growth at the start of 2020, although risks to the central outlook remain.” said senior Lloyds Bank economist Hann-Ju Ho.

London’s confidence reading for January came in ahead of the South West at 34 per cent, and the East Midlands at 31 per cent. 

Scotland was found to be the least confident region, with an overall reading of minus four per cent.