Confidence among businesses has fallen to its lowest level since the recession, with an increasing number seeing tax and red tape as major challenges, according to report published today.
The accountancy firm Grant Thornton and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) said their business confidence index had declined from 13.7 to 8.1 between May and July, the lowest since the same period in 2009, when the UK economy was still mired in recession.
Four businesses in 10, or 40 per cent, said regulatory requirements had become a bigger challenge than 12 months ago, up from 33 per cent in the same period last year.
At the same time, the report showed that the tax burden was "having a bigger impact" on 25 per cent of companies, against 18 per cent a year ago.
"Businesses are doing their best to grow the economy in a tough climate, but they feel little progress has been made on tackling regulation and improving tax competitiveness," said ICAEW chief executive Michael Izza.