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Optimism at a seven-year low: report

By Ben Woods

The UK's small and medium-sized manufacturers have cast a gloomy outlook over growth after business optimism fell at its fastest pace since January 2009, a report said.

The Confederation of British Industry's quarterly SME trends survey said heightened uncertainty surrounding the Brexit vote triggered a sharp fall in optimism despite the volume of output rising in the three months to July.

It found that 8% of firms said they were more optimistic over the period, while 53% said they were less optimistic, leaving a balance of minus 44%.

It added that 27% of businesses reported volume output was up over the period, while 20% said it was down, with a balance of plus 6%.

The study, collated from the responses of 472 companies, also found that plans for fresh investment in buildings, plant and machinery had been scaled back.

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