London firms have low confidence in economy, survey says

Just 13% of London businesses feel optimistic about the economy over the next six months, a survey has shown.

The bi-annual survey by the Confederation of British Industries and KPMG of 262 business leaders showed 55% said their major concern was the threat of a double-dip recession.

But it said firms were looking forward to the Olympics, with 92% saying it would benefit the city internationally.

And 83% of businesses believed London was a good place to do business.

At the time of the last survey in June, 43% felt optimistic about the economy over the next six months.

Recruitment freezes

The number of companies only hiring when essential has increased from 59% in June to 64%, with 23% of businesses implementing recruitment freezes, broadly the same as six months ago.

When questioned about next year's Olympics Games, only 13% of firms said they had not considered the potential transport and logistical impact, down from 40% in June.

But just 36% of businesses said they felt prepared for these issues, which is about the same as the 32% figure in June.

And 39% of firms said they were not prepared at all, the same as six months ago.

Create jobs

Nearly three-quarters (72%) said they did have enough information about the Olympic and Paralympic route networks.

Asked about another key event for London in 2012, the mayoral elections, business leaders said the priority for the candidates should be promoting London internationally, improving the capital's infrastructure and strengthening support for small and medium-sized enterprises.

And 71% of firms feel that the summer riots had not affected their view of London as a good place to do business.

Sara Parker, CBI London region director, said: "It's clear that London business confidence has been knocked by the ongoing uncertainty in the Eurozone and weak demand and growth at home.

"We now need the government to power ahead with its Autumn Statement plans to help businesses grow and create jobs.

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