THE bulk of firms expect to grow their sales and profitability this year according to survey findings, which highlight increased confidence among businesses in the prospects for the UK economy.

In a survey by the Institute of Directors, 74% of respondents said they expected their organisation to increase revenue this year while 58% predicted higher profitability.

Some 87% of ten respondents expected the UK economy to grow at a faster rate in 2014 than in 2013.

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David Watt, executive director of IoD Scotland, said: "It is extremely encouraging to see an increasing number of companies expressing such confidence in the future. In Scotland, 2014 is a very special year on a number of different fronts with high profile international events such as the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup, to name but two, offering opportunities galore for companies willing to take up the challenge."

Around 40% of respondents predicted their organisation would increase investment and employment during the current year. Increased business investment could help boost growth in the UK economy.

Some 46% of respondents thought it likely, or very likely, that the Bank of England would decide the condition of the economy justified an increase in interest rates in 2014.

However, a third thought a rate rise was unlikely or very unlikely.

Directors appear to be notably more confident about the outlook for their organisations and the UK than they were when the last time the survy was completed.

When the same questions were asked of IoD members at the end of 2012, only 51% were expecting the UK economy to grow in 2013.

Fewer than half the respondents, 47%, expected their organisations to increase profitability in 2013.

Some 818 members of the IoD participated in the latest survey, including 40 in Scotland.

The findings in Scotland were in line with those in the UK.

The survey was conducted between 20 and 27 December.