Report suggests recession nearly over

A MASSIVE turnaround in business confidence in the region suggests the recession in the East of England is nearing an end.

A MASSIVE turnaround in business confidence in the region suggests the recession in the East of England is nearing an end.

A leading accountancy group has published figures which show the region is fighting back and that there has been improvement in confidence in the last quarter.

The figures come from the latest Business Confidence Monitor (BCM) which is compiled quarterly by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England (ICAE).

However the institute has also warned that the recovery is still fragile and that there are still challenges ahead for businesses.

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Pippa Bourne, regional director of the ICAE in the East of England, said: “This quarter's BCM suggests that the recession in the East of England is nearing the end.

“While there is no doubt that the region's economy is on its way to recovery, we shouldn't underestimate the challenges ahead for businesses.

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“Businesses have taken the right actions to mitigate the impact of the downturn and are playing their part in an improving economy. Policies such as quantitative easing, the fall in interest rates and the VAT reduction have all helped improve business confidence.

“However, the recovery is very fragile and although positive growth in the autumn seems more likely, there are still concerns about the strength of the recovery.”

The figures are a light at the end of the tunnel for the region after it was revealed yesterday that unemployment has more than doubled in Suffolk and North Essex since the start of the recession.

Worst affected in Suffolk was St Edmundsbury where the number of claimants rose by 135 to 1,964. Ipswich rose by 89 to 3,858, Babergh by 17 to 1,424 , Mid Suffolk by 35 to 1,227 and Suffolk Coastal up 20 to 1,492.

However firms surveyed for the BCM in the East of England expected turnover to increase by 3.1pc over the next 12 months, with turnover having shrunk by 1.9pc over the previous 12 months.

The region's firms also have a more positive outlook for profits than at any point since this time last year, with profits forecast to grow by 2.8pc over the next 12 months following a fall of 1.9pc over the last 12 months.

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