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UK election uncertainty tops business concerns: survey

[LONDON] British companies are chiefly concerned about uncertainties over next month's general election leading to caution over investment, according to a survey published by accountancy firm Deloitte on Tuesday.

Deloitte released its findings from a quarterly survey of 108 chief financial officers (CFOs), including those at 21 companies listed on the FTSE 100, who listed their top risks to the outlook.

"Uncertainty over post-election policy change represents the greatest threat to UK business according to the chief financial officers of the UK's largest companies," Deloitte said in a report.

The group added that a net 53 per cent of executives are expected to increase capital expenditure over the next 12 months.

That contrasted with a peak of 80 per cent at the same stage one year ago.

Britons head to the polls on May 7 with Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives virtually tied with the opposition Labour party, according to recent opinion polls.

"CFOs think the general election poses risks to what is seen as a benign policy environment," Deloitte added.

"A clear majority of CFOs see the potential for adverse changes on regulation and taxation. And, on balance, the expectation is that post?election changes will be negative for fiscal, monetary and labour market policies." The second biggest risk, according to the survey, was uncertainty surrounding a future referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union.

Deloitte added that the third biggest risk was given as deflation and economic weakness in the eurozone - and the possibility of a renewed eurozone crisis.


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