Ad recovery points to rise in optimism

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The Independent Online

Britain's leading companies hiked their marketing budgets in the last three months at the fastest rate in almost six years, boosting hopes that the economy is on the mend.

The Institute of Practit-ioners in Advertising's quarterly Bellwether survey showed 22 per cent of companies increasing their spend compared to 15 per cent that indicated trimming – a positive net balance of 7.3 per cent and the best performance since the third quarter of 2007 when Northern Rock collapsed.

"Companies are beginning to shake off the cloak of recession and becoming more confident in the economy," said Paul Bainsfair, the director general of the IPA. "These figures should send a very upbeat message to the wider economy."

Internet advertising was once again the fastest-growing sector in the last three months but so-called "main media" advertising such as TV and press was also up.

However, market research and events were both down, the latter against tough comparatives a year ago when the Queen's Diamond Jubilee took place and the Olympics were looming.

Chris Williamson, the chief economist at the research firm Markit, which helped compile the survey, said: "Not only is GDP growth likely to have accelerated in the second quarter, but the Office for Budget Responsibility's official forecast of 0.6 per cent economic growth this year is now looking overly pessimistic."

Earlier this week, a separate survey by the Advertising Association and research firm Warc found UK advertising spend increased by 2.4 per cent in the first quarter to levels last seen in 2007. UK advertising is worth £17bn a year, although the AA maintains it contributes £100bn to the wider economy.