ICAEW surveys points to boom time

Link: UK economy set for ‘mini-boom’

The quarterly Business Confidence Monitor, which is run by the ICAEW and Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank and represents the views of 1,000 chartered accountants, predicted UK turnover would grow by 6.1%.

Eric Anstee, chief executive of the ICAEW, said: ‘If the forecasts are realised, economic growth could be in line with the chancellor’s robust forecast for 2004.’ But he warned that a further rise in interest rates could jeopardise Brown’s predictions.

The survey found London’s accountants most optimistic, but those outside the capital were also anticipating improvements, with growth broadly expected to accelerate this year.

In London turnover was expected to increase by 6.4%, compared to just 4.3% in 2003. Profits, which also increased by 4.3% last year, were predicted to rise even faster, by 6.7%.

The capital’s accountants also believed 2004 would see more jobs created, leading to a 2.3% increase in employment, compared to just 0.4% last year.

Optimism was pegged to business size, with respondents from smaller firms predicting the largest upturns in economic fortunes.

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