UK business confidence improved in August after Brexit vote slump

Business confidence in the UK improved in August after slumping following the Brexit vote in June, according to the YouGov/Cebr UK Economic Index.

Firms in the UK were more optimistic last month about their own outlook compared to July.


The survey of more than 500 organisational decision-makers revealed that 48% were optimistic last month about their own prospects over the next year, up from 46% in July.

The overall confidence index rose to 109.7 in August from 105.0 in July – after falling from June’s 112.6. Although the reading is still below pre-vote levels, it has recovered over half the losses recorded following the Brexit vote.

The upbeat report follows recent economic data indicating a similar recovery in consumer confidence.

Stephen Harmston, head of YouGov Reports, said: “For the most part, the panic we saw straight after 23 June has been replaced by calm.”

He added: “What happens in the longer term is the big mystery. Once the UK shows its hand on Brexit and invokes Article 50 things could change for the worse quickly.

“But as businesses and consumers don’t know when this will happen, they have seemingly decided to just get on with it.”

Cebr director Scott Corfe said: “The dust is settling on the EU vote and businesses are showing signs of resilience, for now at least.

“With the post-Brexit panic abating and many indicators signalling a reasonably robust short-term outlook, businesses are suggesting a greater confidence for the coming 12 months when it comes to their own operations.

“However, one red flag in these figures is the level of pessimism about the UK economy that the Brexit vote has engendered in British businesses. If these concerns materialise into reality, businesses could rapidly rein in their investment and hiring plans.”