Business Confidence Monitor (BCM), which is produced collaboratively between Grant Thornton and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). It is one of the most comprehensive monitors of UK business confidence, and is based entirely on the opinions of finance professionals.

The latest BCM shows that business confidence remains firmly in negative territory at the start of 2012 but has shown a little movement from the previous quarter. With the Confidence Index pointing to a double-dip recession, the report gives little comfort to the Government as it seeks to drive growth in the UK economy.

Key findings for Q1 2012 include:

  • Turnover and profit growth expectations remain well below levels seen prior to the financial crisis.
  • With consumer and public sector spending constrained, business investment is particularly important for economic growth at this time. However, firms are reining in plans for capital investment.
  • BCM indicates we could expect to see businesses destocking during 2012, representing a further threat to growth.
  • Employment growth expectations remain weak and it is uncertain as to whether or not the private sector will be able to make up for job losses in the public sector. Headcount growth expectations are higher among SMEs than among large firms.