Poll finds green shoots.

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CIMA members and students in medium-sized UK businesses believe that the country is still in recession, according to the institute's fifth "UK mid-size business confidence monitor" survey. But they were marginally more optimistic than in the preceding quarter, with 25 per cent expecting the downturn to continue for another 13 to 24 months--down from 33 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2009.

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The survey, which covered 333 medium-sized companies nationwide, also showed that 59 per cent were confident about their current business performance (eight percentage points higher than the figure 12 months ago). In the longer term, just under half were confident that their business would survive the recession, but almost six out of ten were worried that an increase in VAT to 20 per cent would harm their business.

Most indicators suggested that businesses were maintaining their performance, but there was evidence of increasing company turnover, net profit and domestic sales turnover. Looking ahead to the next quarter, most respondents were expecting increased overhead costs and supplier prices. This situation has changed since the third quarter of 2009, when they were...

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