Welcome to the latest half-yearly Lloyds Bank Business in Britain survey, which has been offering insights on the recent performance and expectations of domestic businesses, especially small and medium-sized companies, for over two decades.
Our survey is based on the responses of 1,500 firms, drawn from all industries and all parts of the country. Clearly, the big event of the year so far has been the Referendum in June, in which the British people voted to leave the EU. While exit negotiations have not yet formally started, the vote has introduced some uncertainty for companies.
The key message from the latest survey is that business confidence has declined since the start of the year. It seems clear from the survey that economic growth is likely to slow, following a relatively robust performance before the vote. All of the key metrics in our survey, including the outlook for demand, employment and investment, have weakened.
This was the case in all sectors and in the majority of regions. Nevertheless, it is important to put this into context. While sentiment has fallen to a four-year low, it remains well above the lows reached during the global financial crisis of 2008/9, and the banking sector today is in a significantly stronger Capital position than in 2009. We look forward to supporting you and your strategic plans and wish you every success in the remainder of 2016 and beyond.