By Maximilian Clarke

More than half of London’s businesses fear a return to recession, though an overwhelming majority feel the 2012 London Olympics will boost their business’ profile internationally.

Only 13% of London businesses feel more optimistic about prospects for the economy over the next six months, compared with 43% in June, and optimism about their own business prospects has fallen from 51% to 31% over the same period, according the latest CBI / KPMG London Business Survey.

In the latest bi-annual survey of 262 London business leaders, just over half (55%) say their top concern over the next year is the threat of a double-dip recession.

But companies are now less concerned than six months ago about reduced public sector spending which has dropped from second to seventh place. Although half (51%) of firms still think that public sector spending cuts will have a moderate impact on their business (down from 71% a year ago).
The number of companies only hiring when essential has increased from 59% in June to 64% in this survey, with 23% of businesses implementing recruitment freezes, broadly the same as six months ago (20%).

With just over seven months to go until the Olympics, an overwhelming 92% of London businesses think the Games will benefit London internationally, and three-quarters (78%) say they are ‘looking forward’ to the event.

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