UK business confidence jumps as non-essential shops, pubs and restaurants reopen – business live

Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news

  • Non-essential shops reopen in England and Wales after almost four-month lockdown
  • Pubs and restaurants can serve customers outdoors

7.55am BST

Small businesses are also hoping that business activity will rebound as lockdown restrictions are eased…. but some also fear that they’ll be forced to lay off staff.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) says its small business confidence guage has hit its highest level since autumn 2014.

“It’s fantastic that our shops, hairdressers and gyms can get back to doing what they do best all over England from today, with some restrictions easing in other parts of the UK as well.

“The certainty provided by the Government’s road map is filling many small business owners with renewed confidence. We live in hope that the virus stays in retreat so the remaining indicative dates for unlocking can be met, enabling our vital night-time economies, offices and travel and tourism businesses to get back to it as well.

7.49am BST

Confidence among big businesses in Britain about their profits in the year ahead has hit a record high, helped by the country’s coronavirus vaccinations and hopes for less Brexit disruption.

A survey of chief finance officers showed that the UK’s finance leaders are much more upbeat. They’re anticipating an upsurge in hiring and capital expenditure expected as economic uncertainty eases — thanks to vaccine rollouts, and some easing of Brexit anxiety.

“Brexit has been a significant dampener on business activity in the last four years but with the UK’s final departure from the EU, such effects are fading. Combined with a successful vaccine rollout and a greatly improved global backdrop we are seeing a turbo-charged surge in business optimism.

“Having come through the deepest downturn in 300 years UK businesses are firmly focussed on growth. Pent-up business and consumer demand are set to power a strong profits recovery, one already anticipated by the surge in equity markets since February.”

Related: Optimism among UK business leaders hits record high

7.30am BST

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Kriti Sachdeva is more excited about the easing of national lockdown restrictions than she is about her birthday in November. “I want to celebrate,” she said. “I want to do everything, I just worry I won’t have time to fit it all in.”

She plans to go to the gym, eat brunch on the pavement at her favourite cafe, hit the shops, meet up with friends for a group outdoor yoga class and see work colleagues for drinks at an outdoor pub.

Related: Happy Monday: booking frenzy for first day of lockdown-lite in England

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