A survey of UK business confidence by the accountancy industry body the ICAEW has recorded its highest reading yet – although a lack of export growth is giving cause for concern.

The construction sector is experiencing a strong recovery – although it has not yet returned to pre-crisis levels

The survey, which is produced with Grant Thornton, said confidence has increased for six quarters in a row.

The report is the latest to suggest the economic recovery is well established.

However, ICAEW also said there were concerns about the structure of the economy as export growth had failed.

Stumbling blocks

Their Business Confidence Monitor (BCM) said businesses reported the fastest investment growth since 2008, but growth in exports is expected to fall back.

Michael Izza, chief executive of ICAEW, said: “The export figures are disappointing and show that the government’s strategy is not working.

“We would like to see an increase in export guarantees to match the scale that German companies benefit from.”

As well as continued weak export growth, the BCM found other stumbling blocks for the economic recovery included skills shortages.

Its survey suggested the recent positive trend shown in the official employment numbers would continue, with respondents returning to job creation.

The brightest sectors were construction and banking, with confidence sharply higher among builders although output remains below its pre-crisis peak.

The latest reports from a string of housebuilders have shown buoyant sales – and profits – as government initiatives, such as Help to Buy, which is designed to help buyers of new properties, underpins demand.

Among bankers and those in the insurance industry confidence was at a record high, as they continue to recover from the aftermath of the financial crisis.

The survey found turnover and profit growth both picked up and business expect this to continue for the rest of this year.

[BBC News]