North West SMEs set to invest double the UK average
Small and medium-sized businesses in the North West are remaining confident despite the uncertainty of the UK referendum.
According to the latest SME Confidence Tracker, they are set to invest almost double the UK average.
The confidence tracker, which was published by Bibby Financial Services (BFS), showed an increase in the number of businesses feeling confident about sales. 44 per cent expect sales to increase over the next three months, up from 37 per cent in late 2015.
The research showed that over the next three months, SMEs in the North West are set to invest an average of £79,000. This is almost double the UK average of £43,000.
The survey also highlighted the concerns that SMEs have and the challenges that they face.
Over 25 per cent of businesses surveyed said that concerns over the UK’s economic climate is holding them back from investment, and rising costs, red tape, competition, and regulation were seen as the top challenges.
BFS Global Chief Executive David Postings said that small business owners started the year in an “unexpectedly bullish manner” and displayed more confidence than in the second half of 2015, despite uncertainties over the upcoming UK referendum and a “muted outlook for the UK economy.”
"However we aren’t out of the woods yet as SMEs still don’t believe in the UK growth story and optimism remains far below 2014 levels,” he said.
He added that “impactful political debates” such as the Scottish Referendum, General Election and forthcoming EU Referendum and changes like the National Living Wage and pension auto-enrolment meant that SMEs “crave stability and would benefit from a more simplified operating environment.”