Company Directors Optimistic about 2013

Smiley face - Company Directors optimisticA poll conducted by the Institute of Directors (IoD) has found that company directors are optimistic about the year ahead. On matters of fiscal policy, deficit reduction and confidence in George Osborne, support is still "strong."

The UK Economic Outlook

Compared to a poll of opinion by the IoD a year ago, business directors are far more upbeat than they were 12 months ago. At the beginning of 2012 there was a -31% balance of opinion, the outlook for the year appeared pretty miserable.

Now, the outlook of company directors has swung the same amount in the opposite direction and positive opinion is a cheery +31%

This is all despite rumblings about a triple-dip recession and the threat of the UK’s prized AAA rating being downgraded by the credit agencies.

Regarding the third recession threat fears also seem to have subsided with the chance of it happening dropping from 33% to to less than 17%, in the eyes of the IoD’s audience.

But it’s not just the year ahead that’s looking up for directors. the long term optimism of company leaders is better than expected with the ten year outlook swinging upwards from -9% early in 2012 to +22% at the beginning of 2013.

Government Policy

Further findings from the IoD’s poll show that business leaders are mostly in favour of the Government’s austerity policies.

57% of respondents want to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to stick to his current fiscal policies.

22% of those asked said that they wanted deficit reduction to be more drastic and 19% thought it was too tough already and just 1% of directors polled at the IoD wanted to see the tough measures reversed.

Speaking about the poll data, the IoD’s chief economist, Graeme Leach, said:

"2012 was a tough year, but 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."

"George Osborne’s approval ratings have suffered, but he retains business support overall. The deficit reduction programme in particular has overwhelming backing from UK directors – the Government absolutely must not waver from the course."

1,369 IoD members were polled and the findings were backed up by a separate survey by Lloyds TSB Commercial who asked the opinions of 1,800 businesses.

The Lloyds poll found business optimism at its highest since 2009 and that expectations were positive for sales and growth.

Another poll, the annual Ipsos MORI survey Captains of Industry, also demonstrated the business community’s belief that the Chancellor was on the right track.

However, the short term view was that it would take the UK economy up to two more years to return to a more attractive rate of growth.

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