Belfast Telegraph

Business confidence on the rise, but firms still wary of Brexit fallout

Business confidence has increased gradually since the EU referendum, but firms are still reluctant to make long-term commitments, a report says.

A survey of chartered accountants found that companies were looking to control costs by holding wage growth below inflation.

Spending on research and development will be modest and firms will spend less on staff development, said chartered accountants organisation ICAEW.

Spokesman Stephen Ibbotson said: "It's encouraging to see that confidence is starting to rise after a sustained period of decline.

"Yet against this improved sentiment, businesses are not investing in staff and wages and may well be waiting to see what happens in the political arena, particularly in relation to how EU negotiations play out.

"Rising input costs will see inflation exceed wage growth which, when coupled with businesses passing on cost rises to customers in order to rebalance the books, will hit consumer spending power."

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