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Northern Society of Chartered Accountants

At the heart of northern business since 1882

Confidence strengthens in the North as economy recovers 15 December 2013

The latest ICAEW/Grant Thornton UK Business Confidence Monitor (BCM) has found that businesses in Northern England are starting to feel the benefits of the burgeoning UK economic recovery.

Confidence in the region has remained in positive territory for two full years now and currently stands will above the +9.0 seen in Q4 2012, at +32.6, and above the UK national average of +31.7.

Businesses in Northern England have seen turnover growth increasing over the past year, reporting a 4.5% annual rise in turnover this quarter compared with year-on-year growth of 2.5%. This is expected to slow slightly with companies predicting 3.5% growth over the 12 months ahead. At the same time, profit growth has slowed over the last year as businesses continue to face strong competition, dropping to 1.4% from 3.6% in Q4 2012.

Keith Proudfoot, ICAEW regional director for Northern England, said: ‘This quarter’s report shows that the UK economic recovery is well underway. If it continues at this rate, the UK economy will be one of the fastest growing economies in the western world in 2014. However we cannot be complacent and all of us need work hard to maintain the momentum built up this year while remaining alive to the threats to our recovery, especially those outside the UK.’

Annual export growth reached 4.4% this quarter, representing the fastest growth seen since Q3 2011, and well up on figures from earlier this year. In further good news, companies are expecting this trend to continue over the next 12 months, with export growth increasing to 5.2%. In comparison to robust expectations for exports, businesses in Northern England predict domestic sales will grow at a more modest rate of 2.9% over the coming year.

For further information please go to icaew.com/bcm

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