Business confidence soaring as bosses bank on rollout of successful Covid-19 vaccines to kick-start economic recovery
- Two thirds of executives believe their companies’ prospects are looking brighter in 2021
- In a boost to savers with pensions and other investments, the Footsie has risen 17 per cent in the past six weeks
Business confidence is soaring as bosses bank on the rollout of successful Covid-19 vaccines to kick-start an economic recovery.
Two thirds of executives believe their companies’ prospects are looking brighter in 2021 after Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca said their jabs could be widely available by next spring.
Hopes of mass immunisation have been reflected in the stock market, with the FTSE100 making further gains in December after clocking up its best month for 31 years in November.
Hope: Two thirds of executives believe their companies’ prospects are looking brighter in 2021 after jabs could be widely available
In a boost to savers with pensions and other investments, the Footsie has risen 17 per cent in the past six weeks.
Optimism among business leaders has returned to levels not seen since the lockdown in March, according to a survey by the Institute of Directors (IoD). However, there are still concerns about Brexit.
But with trade talks going to the wire, EU sources said last night that a major breakthrough had been made on the rights of European fleets to fish in British waters. The two sides are said to have all but finalised terms on the access for EU boats to the UK’s 200- mile exclusive economic zone.
Tej Parikh, chief economist at the IoD, said: ‘The arrival of the vaccine provides some light at the end of the tunnel.’
But he added: ‘The prospect of a recovery makes it all the more important to support businesses for the time being.
‘It would be a crying shame to see viable companies collapse just as the vaccine was round the corner.’
Parikh also warned that companies forced to close by the Government’s tier system ‘aren’t out of the woods yet’.
Although ministers have extended the furlough scheme until April, the IoD warned many people had fallen through the cracks and called for a cut in National Insurance to give firms more flexibility.
The IoD’s survey found business leaders were far less upbeat about the wider economy, with confidence only rising slightly. Half of those questioned said the lack of clarity over trading rules with the EU after Brexit was a concern.
Allie Renison, head of EU and trade policy at the institute, said firms still expected a deal between Britain and the bloc to be struck.
But the National Audit Office warns that the UK could still face ‘significant disruption’ when the Brexit transition period ends – even if a deal is agreed with Brussels.