In a survey conducted by governance, risk and transparency services provider Kroll, more than half of the 400 UK business leaders that responded – 61% – believe the UK pandemic recovery will take two years, while 11% stated it would take up to five years.
The results of the survey clash with predictions by the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR), the government’s budget watchdog, according to Matthew Ingram, managing director UK restructuring at Kroll.
“The OBR is taking an upbeat view, predicting an increase in UK GDP of 4% in 2021, followed by about 7% in 2022,” he said. “On its assumptions, GDP could well be back to its pre-Covid-19 level by mid-2022. However, our polling has identified a very different sentiment among those business leaders who are at the coalface. The confidence of the OBR is simply not being shared in the wider economy.”
However, the survey also shows that more than half of respondents (51%) to the survey felt that the UK would begin to see a recovery under way this year, while the two main issues facing the UK economy were unemployment, according to 40% of respondents, and corporate failures (39%).
Furthermore, 32% of respondents were not confident the UK would see the green shoots of pandemic recovery at all in 2021.
“It sounds counterintuitive to the broader narrative on the impact of the pandemic, but what we are seeing is the impact of an activist government supporting businesses across two fronts – financial support and the temporary suspension of pre-existing corporate insolvency and governance legislation,” said Ingram.
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“But corporate Britain does feel like it is covered in sticking plasters right now and the confidence many business leaders are feeling as the economy finally opens up is being tempered with the legacy that the necessary government interventions will leave behind.”