According a new survey by the Institute of Directors, business leaders have got a more optimistic outlook on the coming year than they did for 2012 this time last year.
The survey, which questioned 1,369 members of the IoD, found that found that the people expecting 2013 to be an improvement on 2012 exceed the naysayers by a margin of plus 31%. This is a complete reversal of the results from last year, when the pessimists outweighed the optimists by a margin of minus 31%.
The poll also revealed the long-term confidence of business leaders has increased over the last year: the balance of people expecting higher economic growth over the next 10 years compared with the previous decade has risen to plus 22%. In the first quarter of 2012, the balance was minus 9%.
So what about whether people feel another recession is on the way? The number of pessimists has falling with 16% thinking there is a high risk of it – that compares with plus 35% last year.
With deficit reduction, 57% said George Osborne should stick to his guns, 22% said cuts and deficit reduction should be intensified, and just 1% said that the policy of deficit reduction should be reversed altogether.
Chief economist for the IoD, Graeme Leach, said that last year (2012) was tough, but that ‘business leaders expect 2013 to be much better. The risk of a return to recession and a triple dip has not gone away, but it is receding fast, and expectations of growth are rising.'
Leach pointed out that Osborne retains the support of the business community despite his falling approval ratings with the general pubic. ‘The deficit reduction programme in particular has overwhelming backing from UK directors – the government absolutely must not waver from the course.’