Business optimism in the UK has hit a 22-year high with confidence expected to grow further over the next six months, according to the Business in Britain survey released today by Lloyds Banking Group.

The survey’s key Business Confidence Index shows overall confidence has hit a new high of 53%, up from just 10% in 2011. This demonstrates a growing in confidence in British business, driven by expectations of stronger profits, orders and sales over the next six months, and reflects rising expectations in the strengthening economy.

The twice-yearly report looks at 1,500 companies across the UK and tracks the overall “balance” of opinion in order to establish overall positive and negative economic outlooks.

Tim Hinton, Managing Director for SME and Mid Markets Banking at Lloyds said:

“This upturn in confidence marks an all-time survey high. We hope that it will lead to a further improvement in economic activity for the second half of 2014 to allow British businesses to grow and prosper.”

Almost two-thirds of businesses (61%) said they expect orders to increase over the next six months, compared to just one in 20 (5%) who expect a decline. 65% of businesses surveyed expect their sales to grow over the second part of the year.

This is good news for all sectors across the whole of the UK – the South West, North East and Yorkshire, East Midlands and the East have all reported a significant rise in business confidence.

The construction and manufacturing industries have seen the sharpest increase of activity and profits, with the construction sector reporting a 19% increase to 59% overall and manufacturing just behind them at 58%.

This could be further good news for British contractors working in these sectors, as clients increasingly look to take on more talent over the next six months.

Business confidence is at the highest levels since the survey began across all sectors with many planning to increase capital spending and boost hiring for the second half of 2014.

Tim Hinton said:

“It’s encouraging to see that businesses are looking to export more and that they feel more bullish about Europe as it emerges from recession. The survey implies that they are eager to invest more in infrastructure and staff, which we hope will result in them developing and growing on the international stage.”

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