The sharp rise in costs and falling prices have left confidence in business and professional services at a two-year low, according to a new survey.
The quarterly survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) shows the first fall in confidence since the survey began two years ago.
Business and professional confidence optimism peaked in November 1999 and stayed consistent until the sharp fall between August and November this year.
In November 1999 the balance optimism figure was plus 26 per cent. In August 2000 the balance figure was plus 17 but has nose dived to minus 11 for November this year.
The CBI's associate director of economic analysis, Sudhir Junankar, said, "The drop in optimism among companies in the business and professional services is an important signal. The sharp rise in costs coupled with expectations of falling prices is likely to hold back the growth in profits."
By Paul Nelson