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UK accountants at most gloomy in a decade

By Amanda Cooper

Confidence hits lowest level since financial crash

Accountants pessimism slow growth

Accountants in the UK are at their most pessimistic in over a decade, according to their professional body.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) blames slower economic growth driven by uncertainty over Brexit. An unpredictable political environment has also eroded business confidence.

The ICAEW’s Business Confidence Monitor, based on a telephone survey of 1,000 chartered accountants, fell to -20.6 for the fourth quarter. That was its lowest since -45.3 in the first quarter of 2009, after the global financial crisis.

“Since 2014 businesses have been telling us their confidence has been in decline,” Michael Izza, ICAEW chief executive, said. “It’s now hit a 10-year low, with slower economic growth a symptom of the malaise that has set in, driven primarily by Brexit uncertainty and political instability.”

The ICAEW added that a sharply slowing eurozone economy and the ongoing trade war between the United States and China were also contributing factors.

The UK looks likely to avoid a recession as a result of Brexit, according to the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics. It showed the British economy grew by 0.3 per cent in the three months to the end of August, marking the second successive three-monthly increase after a drop of 0.2 per cent in the second quarter.

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