1. ITV Report

Business confidence "at three year low"

Many small businesses say they're under pressure. Photo: ITV News Wales

Business confidence in Wales has slumped to its lowest level for almost three years, according to a survey of 68 senior business professionals in Wales.

This is the lowest reading in almost three years and continues a sharp downward trend in the outlook in Wales.

Household incomes have been under severe pressure with salary levels restrained and job losses and higher energy, food and fuel prices all combining to impact on business confidence.

– David Lermon, ICAEW director for Wales
  • firms in Wales reduced their employee numbers by 0.8% on average over the year
  • gross profits grew by 1.0% over the last 12 months compared to 2.5% growth in the same period the the previous year
  • firms in Wales report increasing average total salaries by 1.3% over the year, far below the inflation rate, which stood at 3.6% in January
  • 1.2% of all businesses in Wales became insolvent in 2011, a failure rate higher than both the previous year and the UK average

ICAEW/Grant Thornton, who carried out the survey, said it highlighted concerns about the UK economy.