Business chiefs have accused Chancellor George Osborne of failing to kickstart the economy by doing "too little, too slowly".
Bosses condemned the Government's attempts at economic and business reform as "ineffective" as they warned the UK will stay in recession until the end of this year.
A survey of 1,200 members of the Institute of Directors (IOD) found they have "serious concerns" that the downturn will last throughout 2012, with only a small recovery in 2011.
The directors said the coalition had struggled most at reducing tax complexity and business regulation.
The results of the survey emerged hours after official data revealed a shock rise in public sector borrowing in July, which is traditionally a good month for Treasury coffers.
It found 54% of bosses believe Government attempts to slash taxes have been "ineffective". A further 68% were critical of moves to slash red tape and 62% of changes to employment law.
Almost half, 44%, said they had put off investment or employment decisions this year because of the uncertain economic outlook.
And two thirds, 66%, believe there is little or no possibility of the recession ending in 2012.
IOD chief economist Graeme Leach said: "Business is battening down the hatches in the expectation that the recession will continue for the rest of the year.
"That is bad news for the economy at large, because decisions to invest money or take on more staff are being postponed until things look up.
"Low confidence leads to delayed decisions, and delayed decisions further undermine economic confidence - it's a vicious cycle.
“The Government’s reform agenda is pointing in broadly the right direction, but the overwhelming opinion of our members is that they are doing too little, too slowly.
"If the Coalition wants to break this cycle of low economic confidence, then they need to take some bold steps that will make a real difference to the cost and complexity of doing business in the UK.”
Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna believes business leaders no longer trust the Government.
Mr Umunna said: "Month after month the country's businesses have been telling the Government it is not doing enough to lift our economy out of this double-dip recession created in Downing Street.
"But out-of-touch and ineffective ministers refuse to listen, which is why they are losing the confidence of business."
However, a Government spokesman said: "We have set out a comprehensive strategy to achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth, including important reforms to reduce the burden of regulation.
"Since 2011, savings to business from cuts in regulation have outweighed the costs of new domestic regulation by more than £850m, and a root and branch reform of labour laws has already led to an increase in the qualification period for unfair dismissal and reform of employment tribunals.
"The Government has clearly demonstrated a commitment to simplifying the tax system."