A poll finds that business confidence is at four-year high.

The latest Lloyds Bank Business Barometer, which is based on the results of a survey of 1,200 businesses in the first two weeks of August, found that business confidence increased 6 percentage points to 36 per cent – its highest level since April 2017.

This appears to be largely down to the lifting of most of the lockdown restrictions and changes to the self-isolation rules.

The poll also found that economic optimism rose by 6 percentage points to 38 per cent, offsetting a slight July dip.

The service sector has seen the greatest increases in confidence. This was followed by manufacturing and construction, which also reported greater optimism.

Regionally, the Northeast saw the greatest boost in confidence, increasing by 6 percentage points to 46 per cent. This was followed by London, which saw a 4-percentage point increase to 41 per cent.

However, three UK regions reported declining confidence, including the West Midlands (27 per cent), Yorkshire and the Humber (26 per cent), and the East Midlands (28 per cent).

Other findings saw some concern over staff shortages and an expectation that wages would increase with a third of businesses expecting at least a 2% increase in pay for employees.