Business confidence has stabilised across the Fylde and North West and economic uncertainty remains the biggest threat to firms, according to the latest Business in Britain report from Lloyds Bank.
The report’s confidence index – an average of respondents’ expected sales, orders and profits over the next six months – stayed the same as it was in September at 15 per cent.
The survey shows the North West is feeling optimistic compared with neighbours Yorkshire, which has experienced a 15 percentage point drop in the last six months. But, while the region remains confident, it falls behind the North East and the East of England.
Martyn Kendrick, (pictured) regional director for SME Banking in the North West, Lloyds Commercial Banking, said: “Business confidence in the North West has remained the same since September, a sign that companies are remaining resilient against current challenges and entering 2017 with a realistic outlook.
“However, many still recognise that economic and political uncertainty may impact their prospects over the next six months.” The most commonly identified threat chosen by regional firms in the next six months was economic uncertainty (24 per cent), followed by weaker UK demand (18 per cent) as firms wait for more on Britain’s EU exit.
Firms also cited political uncertainty (11 per cent), weaker overseas demand (nine per cent) and regulation (eight per cent) amongst the biggest threats.
Mr Kendrick added: “Despite business confidence across the region remaining unchanged, the outlook for regional firms over the next six months looks positive.”