The bank’s latest business confidence survey found that more than 90% of the region’s business managers predict an upturn in the next 24 months, with a third of those saying it will come as early as next year.
 
Clydesdale’s East of England regional director Richard Norrington said the sentiment shown in the research by businesses reflects that of many leading economists.
 
“Clydesdale Bank economists believe that although the economy will see some growth next year, it will not be until the first half of 2011 that it will be consistent and sustainable,” Mr Norrington added.
 
“It is heartening to see that UK businesses of all sizes, and particularly SMEs, are feeling optimistic about the future and are aware of what is happening in their local and wider economies.”
 
The research shows the younger generation to be the most optimistic, with nearly 80% of 16-24 year-olds believing growth will be evident within 18 months. The older generation are more cautious, with nearly a third of respondents aged 45-54 believing it will be at least two years before a return to growth.
 
Across the UK, businesses in the South East are second only to the Welsh in terms of their optimism, where 40% of businesses believe an upturn will come within 12 months. North East businesses are the most cautious with only 15% predicting an upturn in the next year.
 
Clydesdale Bank’s chief UK economist Tom Vosa said: “The worst of the economic conditions appear to be behind us but we should still approach 2010 with an element of caution.
 
“UK businesses are likely to see some growth before the end of the year, particularly given the annual Christmas bump. However, it is likely that 2010 will still experience some rocky moments and it will not be until 2011 that we see stability in the UK.”
 
The first wave of the research released in the summer showed that around 90% of business managers in the East of England were confident their company will survive the recession – with four out of 10 certain they would make it through.
 
Despite the downturn, 36% of companies in the East of England have seen an upturn in trading – taking on more staff, investing in the company, increasing profits or expanding into new markets. Less than a fifth (19%) have seen a reduction in business.
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