Brokers were also asked for their view on the outlook for the UK economy over the next three years.
Six out of 10 respondents expected to see a steady improvement but a third were more cautious, describing the outlook as ‘unsettled’. Just 7% described the future for the UK economy as ‘bright’.
Harley Kagan, managing director of United Trust Bank, said: “Brokers believe something which may be out of our hands as the biggest threat to the UK’s continued economic recovery. And they could be right.
“The Eurozone has very low levels of inflation with some countries such as Italy, Spain and Greece already in deflation.
“Deflation can be disastrous for economies trying to service debts and can dissuade individuals and businesses from spending and investing, hitting corporate profits, costing jobs and cutting tax revenues.”
And he added: “The Eurozone is also struggling to increase its economic output and reduce unemployment.
“Currently running at 11.5%, it’s nearly twice the UK’s unemployment rate. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently estimated that there was a 40% chance of the Eurozone having another recession.
“The outcome of the May general election will also play a major factor in how the UK economy will fare over the next few years.
“Whilst the coalition government’s austerity measures have been unpopular with many, the UK’s finances appear to be in better shape than most of its European neighbours. The voting public will decide on the trade off between cuts to public services and the debt burden. A government with a different approach may well have more crowd pleasing policies.”
“Whatever happens this year, the UK economy will still be heavily reliant on SMEs to continue to create jobs and maintain investment. As a group they have been vital to the recovery of our economy and United Trust Bank, with the help of its broker partners, will continue to support their ambitions.”
The survey, carried out with brokers working in the bridging, development finance and asset finance sectors, asked respondents to rate in order of importance the factors they believed posed the biggest threat to continued economic recovery in the UK. United Trust Bank then tabulated the results to arrive at a final league table.
Brokers’ view of the most likely threats to the UK’s economic recovery
1: Eurozone recession
2: A new UK government with a different economic agenda
3: World recession
4: A rise in UK interest rates
5: The national debt
6: A decline in UK property prices