Business confidence in Britain has sunk to its lowest level since the global financial crisis, according to a survey of accountants, amid persistently high inflation and fears that the country is already in a recession.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales said Thursday that its latest monitor of business sentiment dropped to an index reading of -23.4, the weakest since 2009. The last survey, published in November, stood at -16.9.
Companies in the retail, property and manufacturing sectors were particularly downbeat and reported problems accessing capital, the group said. Construction firms had the lowest confidence.
Suren Thiru, the group’s economics director, blamed “the lethal combination of sky-high inflation and deteriorating customer demand,” and warned that “2023 is likely to be a bleak year for the economy as record inflation, rising taxes and interest rates push the UK into recession.”
The survey included 1,000 chartered accountants and was conducted between October 17 and December 16.