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January 04, 2013

Poll of business directors sounds optimistic note for 2013

An opinion poll of business leaders, carried out by the Institute of Directors (IoD), has revealed a growing sense of economic optimism for the year ahead.

The poll shows that business directors are starting 2013 with a far more optimistic outlook on the coming year than 12 months ago. The proportion of respondents that expect 2013 to be better than the previous year exceeds those with a pessimistic outlook by a margin of +31%. This is a direct reversal from the start of 2012, when the balance of opinion on the new year was a grim -31%.

Long-term confidence has also risen, with the balance of those expecting higher UK GDP growth over the coming ten years compared to the previous decade rising to +22% in the new poll, compared to -9% in Q1 2012, -8% in Q2 and +10% in Q3.

Concerns about a triple dip recession have also receded, with the proportion of respondents foreseeing a high risk of recession falling from about one in three a year ago to one in six today. The survey found that 16% thought the risk was high, 49% moderate and 34% low. In response to this question at the start of 2012, 35% said the risk was high, 53% moderate and 11% low.

The poll of 1,369 members of the IoD was carried out in mid-December 2012. It also shows that the Government's fiscal policies are broadly supported. 57% say Chancellor George Osborne should stick with current policy, 22% say deficit reduction should be tougher,19% support an easing off and only 1% would like to see a reversal of the policy.

Graeme Leach, IoD chief economist, 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."