Morale in large British companies hit an 18-month high in the fourth quarter, bolstered by robust economic growth and recovering fully from a slump that followed the Brexit vote. But, as Laura Frykberg reports, the Deloitte's survery also showed business were still loath to increase investment spending becasue of uncertainty about Britain's divorce from the EU.
A cursory glance at Deloitte's new survey reveals a pretty picture for British business. Morale was at an eighteen month high in the fourth-quarter - thanks to the economy's surprising resilience since the Brexit vote. But on closer inspection the future outlook appears more bleak. The unknown terms of Britain's divorce from the EU has left firms unwilling to spend. While two-thirds of CFO's say Brexit will eventually damage their business. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF CORPORATE DEVELOPMENT, 7IM, JUSTIN URQUHART STEWART, SAYING: "Already around the country we can see certain key areas where they're very frustrated, because suddenly the cost of labour - particularly labour coming in from Europe - is now more expensive because the pound has fallen. And there are less people wanting to come over here, for various reasons, not least of which of course is a somewhat negative attitude towards Eastern European workers over here doing vital jobs, particularly in farming." It's better before it gets worse in another sector too. House prices rose faster-than-expected this month - according to mortgage lender Nationwide. Annual gains were at 4.5 percent - a slight increase from November. In 2017 it's likely to slow though. Thanks to that Brexit buzz word heard again and again over the past six months: Uncertainty.