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Cambridgeshire Directors optimistic about economic prospects

Company directors in Cambridgeshire are more optimistic now about the prospects for their businesses than they have been for at least two years, according to the latest survey from the Institute of Directors (IoD).

Directors in the south of the county around Cambridge are feeling particularly bullish with a balance of 42 per cent who responded to an IoD survey saying they are more optimistic now than they were three months ago. Further north, in the survey area which includes Peterborough, there was slightly more caution with a balance of only 34 per cent saying they are more optimistic.

Both figures, though, are more than four times as high as those giving the same replies at the end of 2001.

The rise in optimism comes despite a slight fall - from 75 per cent to 66 per cent - over the same period in the balance of directors in the south of the country who say their companies are performing well. In the north of the county the figure rose slightly from 64 per cent to 67 per cent.

The optimism is reflected in recruitment plans with a balance of 30 per cent of directors in the south of Cambridgeshire and 19 per cent in the north predicting that they will be employing more people in three months time.

Stephanie Smye, chairman of the IoD Eastern Branch which represents 1,000 company directors throughout Cambridgeshire, said: "It is difficult to see what has changed so drastically in the economy since the previous survey to justify such a dramatic change in outlook - especially as figures for such things as capacity utilisation and order books have in some cases got worse.

"The new mood is to be welcomed, though, if it leads to investment and activity which will generate new jobs and prosperity.

"If there is a recovery, however, it is a delicate flower. These survey results were taken before the recent Budget and I hope that this has not caused the bloom to wither."

May 2002




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