South: Business optimism hits seven-year low

A fall in optimism in both the services and manufacturing sectors has caused business confidence to hit its lowest level since March 2012, according to a new report from accountants and business advisors BDO LLP.

Elsewhere, the BDO Inflation Index fell by 1.11 points to 94.25 in October. This brings the index to its lowest level since May 2016 – the month before the EU referendum – the outcome of which drove the pound down, causing a spike in import inflation which has taken two years to subside.

Commenting on the findings, Malcolm Thixton, lead partner at BDO in Southampton, said: “The last time we saw business confidence at such a low level was when the country was staggering out of the doldrums caused by the global financial crisis. With an unpredictable general election looming, continued political volatility in the UK remains a key driver of falling optimism.

“Given British businesses are telling us that new hires and investment are hard to justify at the moment, growth will continue to remain elusive until there is some kind of resolution of the Brexit conundrum.”

To download BDO’s Business Trends New Economy report and find out more, visit