Optimism among British businesses is cooling as order book growth slows and inflationary pressures intensify, according to one of the most up-to-the-minute snapshots of sentiment in boardrooms.

The S&P Global/CIPS composite purchasing managers’ index survey of 1,300 UK companies, known as the flash PMI, found that private sector output in April was growing at its slowest rate for three months, with the dominant services sector experiencing a sharp loss of momentum.

The data pointed to “a much weaker speed of recovery across the economy” and business leaders frequently cited the cost-of-living crisis and economic uncertainty arising from the war in Ukraine.

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