UK business confidence drops to lowest since pandemic lockdown

UK business confidence dropped to its lowest since March 2021 when the country was struggling with a coronavirus lockdown despite some firms expecting an improvement in trading prospects.

That's the conclusion of Lloyds Bank's business barometer, which said confidence fell 1 point to 15 per cent in its October survey. The number of employers expecting to increase staffing levels rose for the first time in five months, and almost half of firms also reported a better outlook.

The findings underscore the turmoil in the UK economy after Liz Truss abruptly resigned as prime minister and handed power to Rishi Sunak. The new government has reversed all the tax cuts offered by the old one and is planning a fiscal statement on Nov 17 that will tighten austerity on the public finances.

"While confidence has marginally decreased this month, this also comes at a time of great economic uncertainty," said Paul Gordon, managing director for small and medium sized enterprises at Lloyds Bank. "As we head into the winter months, energy price increases will start to bite, and we are seeing continued pressure on pay expectations." BLOOMBERG

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