Confidence in Britain’s services sector rises to 12-month high

Monday 8th March 2021

With the anti Covid-19 vaccine rollout continuing to gather momentum, business confidence in GB’s crucial services sector has risen to a 12 month high according to the BDO Services Optimism Index. The Index rose to 94.13 in February (up from 86.6 in January) – the highest figure since February 2020. For more information on this subject please read the article below which appeared in The Daily Telegraph today.

Roger Mundy, Managing Director, Beardsley Theobalds, 8th March 2021

 

 

Vaccine rollout pushes confidence to 12-month high in services sector

Business confidence has risen to a 12-month high in Britain’s crucial services sector as the vaccine rollout continues to pick up speed and companies prepare for a return to normal.

The BDO Services Optimism Index hit 94.13 in February, up from 86.6 in January, as businesses were given “a much-needed shot of relief” by the ongoing vaccination efforts in the country. Services dominate the UK economy and include retail, hospitality and finance.

Almost 22m people across the UK had received their first does of vaccines by Saturday. The Government has said all adults will be offered the Covid-19 jab by the end of July.

The spike in business confidence recorded by BDO came even before the Government set out the lockdown road-map at the end of February, as companies began planning for a reopening following sharp falls in cases. Under the current plans, non-essential retail and restaurants will open as soon as April 12.

Accountant BDO said business confidence was likely to be bolstered by Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget pledges to continue the taxpayer-funded furlough scheme until September, and dole out up to £5bn of grants to companies. He is also keeping VAT on most hospitality sales at a reduced level of 5pc to support the recovery.

Kaley Crossthwaite, a partner at BDO, said: “With business lifelines extended in the shape of the prolonged furlough scheme, and an extra dose of support provided to hospitality via extensions in business rates relief and the VAT cut to 5pc, there is reason to believe this optimism can be sustained as we gradually emerge from the depths of lockdown.”

The extension of the furlough scheme has allayed fears over a spike in unemployment, BDO said. The BDO Employment Index rose to 107.68 in February, up from 107.64 in January – its first increase in four months.However, confidence in the manufacturing sector was dented by Brexit border disruption.