Business leaders in the North of England have shown a dip in optimism toward the end of 2021. But, the outlook in the North continues to demonstrate incredible resilience and grit in some challenging circumstances.

Our latest Business Outlook Tracker results show that businesses in Yorkshire and the North East had an above national average (72%) optimism outlook at 75%. The region saw a peak of 90% in the summer for optimism on revenue growth, and so fell quite significantly towards the end of the year. The story is different in the North West where optimism was below national average at 67%, a dent in confidence that was recorded in late November and early December in 2021. 

This drop in optimism towards the end of the year is not surprising when we look at the scrutiny businesses and their directors have faced over corporate reporting. The United Kingdom readies itself for a new regulator with increased powers and red tape as we move through the new year.

Sustainability and ESG will continue to gather momentum as mandatory reporting of climate-risk disclosures will become mandatory for larger corporates and an increasing feature of covenants causing greater complexity for corporate reporting. UK employment levels will continue to restrict the availability of talent to the North of England, driving up salary inflation but also requiring a renewed focus on retention and a greater use of flexible talent models such as contractors.

From your local practice leaders

  • From your local practice leaders

    Andy Wood, Practice Leader, Yorkshire and North East 

    “It’s no exaggeration to describe 2021 as a year like no other – with some significant local highlights, such as the launch of the Leeds-based UK Infrastructure Bank in July, Channel 4’s launch in Leeds and some outstanding local deals coming to market as confidence and pent-up demand returned. However, our businesses have had to cope with a myriad of economic headwinds – many, such as energy price costs and labour challenges, have been outside of their control – and in general I think we can be proud of the old-fashioned Yorkshire-grit we’ve displayed.”

  • From your local practice leaders

    Carl Williams, Practice Leader, North West 

    “Given the peaks and troughs of 2021, businesses in our region have continued to demonstrate resilience and kept the focus on making the best of the circumstances. Restrictions, shortages and price inflation in skills and materials have arrived at a time when everyone has been trying to sharpen the focus on decarbonising the economy.”

Every two months, we ask business leaders across the country to share their expectations and priorities for the future.

We are tracking how sentiment is changing in the market and getting insight on timely issues: from tax to ESG.

Read more about each region’s business outlook

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