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GB Business Confidence remains stable moving into 2024

The MarketVue Business Confidence Index from Savanta - GB (Survey Period: 2nd January 2024 - 25th March 2024) remains stable at 39 in Q1 2024.

The MarketVue Business Confidence Index from Savanta – GB (Survey Period: 2nd January 2024 – 25th March 2024) remains stable at 39 in Q1 2024.


Confidence increased for established business with a turnover of up to £1m and for larger businesses, but decreased for start-ups
New start-ups have a Confidence Index of 38, a decrease of -2 points compared to Q4 2023.

The Confidence Index among smaller established businesses has increased by one point to 39. Larger businesses, with annual sales above £1m, have also increased by one point and this is the most confident group with an Index of 43.

Confidence increased in 3 geographical regions

  • Midlands/ East is now the most confident region, with a +2 points increase in the Confidence Index compared to Q4 2023 and is now at 41.
  • South East falls to second position losing -1 point, now with a score of 40.
  • London remains stable this quarter with a score of 39.
  • The North/North West and Wales/South West both have a score of 38, but North/North West has increased by +1 point while Wales/South West has deceased -1 point this quarter.
  • Scotland remains the region with the lowest Confidence Index, with a score of 34, +1 point up from Q4 2023.

An Index of less than 50 means more businesses are pessimistic, rather than optimistic, about the current state of the economy.

Confidence down in 5 industry sectors
At Q1 2024, confidence increased in 3 of the 9 industry sectors (Education, Construction and Business Services), decreased in 5 (Accommodation, Production, Agriculture, Transport and Other Services) and remained stable for 1 (Wholesale).

  • The greatest increase was in the Education sector, with a significant increase of +13 points, gaining first position once again.
  • Construction is in second position with a score of 41, a significant increase of +5 points from Q4 2023.
  • Production (-1 point) and Wholesale (stable) have equal confidence scores of 39, the average score for this quarter.
  • Transport, Agriculture, Accommodation and Other Services are below average.
  • The Transport and Agriculture sectors have equal Confidence Indices (37). Transport has a decrease of -2 points whilst Agriculture has a decrease of – 4 points.
  • The Other Services sector has a Confidence Indices of 35, with a drop of – 3 points.
  • Accommodation has dropped from 1st to last position, with a significant loss of -8 points to 33.

Amongst start-ups and small businesses, Business Confidence increased for up to 34 years, remains stable for 35-64s and decreased for 65+

Looking at start-ups and established businesses with a turnover of £0-2m, Business Confidence increased significantly for younger business owners (up to 34-year-olds), (+6 points to 38) but remains just below average.

  • The scores for those aged 35-64 is stable at 38 for this quarter.
  • Those aged 65 and over remain the most confident group this quarter, with a score of 40 although this is -1 point lower than last quarter.

Commenting on the findings Philippa Whitham, Senior Director at Savanta, said:

“2024 has started with some much-needed stability, although overall Business Confidence is still more pessimistic than optimistic. With a general election due on 4th of July, both the Conservatives and Labour will be looking for ways to give the UK economy (and their electoral chances) a much needed boost. The PM has already announced a package of reforms to support small businesses by cutting red tape and investing in apprenticeships, whilst Labour’s manifesto includes a promise to strengthen the SME bank referral scheme to improve access to credit. It will certainly be intriguing to see what the future brings.”

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About Market Vue Business Confidence
Quarterly findings are from Savanta’s Market Vue Business Confidence programme conducted among 2485 GB businesses from start-ups to companies with £1bn turnover, surveyed between 2nd January 2024  – 25th March 2024. Indices are mean scores based on a scale of ‘extremely positive’ (100), ‘fairly positive’ (75), ‘neither positive nor negative’ (50), ‘fairly negative’ (25) and ‘extremely negative’ (0), for the question “How do you feel about the current health of the UK economy?”

Notes for editors

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For further comment, please contact Richard Brooks on [email protected] or 07740858477.