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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Cumbrian business bosses 'increasingly worried' by state of economy

Business confidence in Cumbria and the north west has slumped to its lowest level since 2009.

Company bosses are becoming “increasingly worried” about the short-term prospects for the economy, with many fearing a second recession, according to the BCM Confidence Index in the North West.

The index shows business confidence at -10.5, down from -6.4 three months ago.

The projection for growth in the next 12 months among north west firms now stands at an average of 3.2 per cent, down from a forecast of 6.1 per cent.

Melanie Christie, north west region director for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, said: “These latest figures show that north west businesses have played their part in supporting economic growth and many are proud of their success against a backdrop of a very slow and protracted recovery.

“Yet they are becoming increasingly worried about the immediate outlook and the risk of a double dip recession.

“They are looking to a Government which now needs to take urgent steps to restore business confidence and to show that it understands the need to rapidly change the mood music that the business community clearly feels.”

David Grundy, north west managing partner of accountants Grant Thornton, said: “There’s no doubt the Eurozone crisis is having a corrosive effect on business confidence.

“In recessions, people have become accustomed to the idea of companies struggling with difficult market conditions.

“Sovereign debt is something else entirely and unprecedented in our generation.

“There are concerns about the scale of the debt in Italy, Portugal and Spain, on top of the profound issues already evident in Greece and Ireland.

“The UK would not be immune from any escalation in the current crisis and people are aware this kind of financial contagion can certainly create balance sheet problems for European banks.”

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