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UK finance chiefs ramp up spending plans

THE FINANCE CHIEFS of Britain’s largest listed companies are willing to take on more risk and ramp up their spending plans, as lending conditions improve and confidence in the economy returns.

A quarterly survey of chief financial officers by Deloitte recorded an increase in expansion, investment and hiring plans and found that bank borrowing returned as the most attractive source of finance for the first time since the financial crisis began.

As a result, more CFOs are willing to take risk onto their balance sheets than at any time in the past six years. Over two-thirds of the 122 CFOs surveyed expect to increase hiring in 2014; 65% expect to increase capital spending and 46% expect an increase in discretionary spending.

“CFOs enter 2014 in buoyant mood with a focus on expansion, investment and hiring in the year ahead. This bodes well for the broad-based recovery policymakers hope to see in 2014,” said Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte.

“Uncertainty and credit shortages, two major blocks on business activity, have eased substantially and CFOs believe that the level of financial and economic risk facing their businesses has reduced significantly in the last year. Whether through introducing new products and services, M&A or moving into new markets, expansion is firmly back on the agenda.

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