Business leaders forcast a brighter futureBy David Millward
June 20, 2012
Business leaders in the region are overwhelmingly confident about the year ahead, according to the results of a survey.
More than 80 per cent of bosses questioned during a conference in Reading said they felt positive about their companies’ prospects.
But there has been a big drop in support for the Government’s recovery plan and the burden of regulation is considered to be a key challenge for businesses.
Auditor KPMG, the Royal Bank of Scotland and legal firm Shoosmiths surveyed 100 people at the Thames Valley Business Leaders’ Dinner at the Hilton Reading.
According to the survey, 83 per cent of respondents said they felt confident or very confident about the prospects of their company for the forthcoming year.
Business leaders were also more optimistic than last year about the recovery of the UK economy, despite the double dip recession and turmoil in the Eurozone.
Forty-eight per cent said they expected to see the economy improve over the next 12 months, a five per cent increase on 2011.
However, surprisingly the affects of the potential fall-out from a Eurozone break-up did not feature heavily in people’s minds with only 48 per cent saying they had prepared for such an occasion.
Andrew Morgan, partner at KPMG’s office in Arlington Business Park, Theale, said: “In the face of significant global economic headwinds it is very encouraging that business confidence remains high in the Thames Valley.”
The survey showed a drop in support for the Government’s economic recovery plan with just 53 per cent saying they believed the plan was right, compared with 67 per cent last year.
Robin Barnes, regional director at The Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “Whilst the majority of businesses surveyed support the coalition’s recovery plan, they stressed the need to have the correct balance between growth and austerity.”
Emma Gibson, partner at Shoosmiths, in Apex Plaza, Forbury Road, said: “Increased regulation was listed by those surveyed as one of the biggest challenges facing their business at the moment.”
More than 100 business leaders attended the dinner on May 29 where broadcaster James Naughtie was guest speaker.