Business confidence in May hit its highest point since June 2014, driven by the rollout of the vaccine programme and further easing of lockdown restrictions according to BDO’s latest Optimism Index, which quizzes businesses to calculate optimism,

The Index jumped from 99.85 in April to 109.71 the following month, above the long-term average of 100.

It also marks the fourth consecutive month of growth for the index. The index was driven particularly by optimism in the services index, which increased 10.70 points to reach 110.56 in May.

The services index includes restaurants, cinemas and the wider hospitality industry, which benefitted the most from the latest relaxation of restrictions.

BDO partner Kaley Crossthwaite said: “The latest figures show that most businesses, buoyed by the success of the vaccine rollout and the further easing of restrictions, have confidence the UK will continue along the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, despite growing concerns over the Delta strain of the virus.”

Comments on the Index:Chirag Shah, CEO, Nucleus Commercial Finance  said “After a year filled with uncertainty, it’s extremely encouraging to see business optimism continuing to rise, despite continued cause for concern around new Coronavirus variants. The optimism and passion of SME leaders is what will help to drive UK SMEs forward and enable them to look beyond the pandemic.”

“Our own research found that nearly a third (31%) of SME leaders are optimistic about all restrictions lifting on June 21st, but 26% believe that the removal of all restrictions by this date will be delayed.* Regardless of how and when all restrictions end, business owners should rest assured that there is help at hand, in the form of government support and SME finance. This finance can be matched to what they need and delivered quickly to help them thrive now and for years to come.”