Signs of pick-up in business investment

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The Independent Online

The latest survey of the UK's service sector reveals sharply differing fortunes, says the CBI. Firms dealing directly with consumers have seen a whole year of decline in confidence, says the employers' organisation – but business-to-business companies are much more bullish about the outlook.

Ian McCafferty, the CBI chief economic adviser, said: "These findings on the service sector reveal much about the broader economy. On the one hand, consumer spending is constrained, held back by rising prices and squeezed real incomes. On the other, business and professional services firms managed to grow. Signs that firms plan to invest more in IT and equipment are encouraging."

The Bank of England's Agents Report also suggested a possible upturn in investment.