Business optimism continues to fall

Business
optimism has fallen despite slight improvements in orders and employment, finds
research.

 The survey of 500 business leaders by the
Institute of Directors also reveals that in the final quarter of 2002 company
performance was weaker than the previous three months and profits remained
depressed.

Ruth
Lea, head of policy at the IoD said the survey shows the UK economy is still
faltering.

"On
balance we conclude that the survey indicates that the business situation is
deteriorating,” she said.

"British
economic prospects remain blighted by the impact of falling stock markets on
business and consumer confidence plus the international economic and political
situation."

The
balance of companies more optimistic in December about prospects was 15 per
cent, compared with 27 per cent in September and 40 per cent in March.

The
financial services, education and health were the sectors where confidence was
highest.

By Ben Willmott

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