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BUSINESS leaders are feeling confident about the future as the economy recovers – but it’s important they act now to make the most of the upturn.

That was the feeling when some of the region’s most respected business figures met to discuss the state of the economy in the south.

The event, hosted at Cams Hall by Fareham-based IT services business Taylor Made Computer Solutions, invited delegates to take part in a frank discussion about the current business conditions.

Guests were asked whether they were more optimistic than they were this time last year, given the UK’s economic forecast of 2.7 per cent growth in GDP.

The general feeling was that confidence had grown, and that it was now time for businesses to start implementing more ambitious strategies again after a long period of caution through the recession.

Malcom Hyde, director of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) South-East, said: ‘We’ve seen optimism growing over the last nine months, and it has been more solid.

‘Why? I think it comes back to the piece about a consumer-led economy.

‘We’re looking at good consumer spending rather than it being based on debt.

‘Coupled with that, we’ve seen government sticking to its fiscal constraints and companies prepared to invest.’

Nigel Taylor, chairman of Taylor Made Computer Solutions, added: ‘There are definitely hot and cold companies out there. If there was something which could be put on hold, then that is what happened, but deferment cannot go on forever.’

Business leaders also agreed there is a need to strategise properly now.