Small and medium-sized businesses in the North West believe the economy is in better shape today than before the recession, with investment levels growing as a result, according to new research by Yorkshire Bank.
The new survey reveals SMEs in the North West intend to invest, on average, nine per cent of their annual turnover back into their business and the UK economy in the next 12 months.
This has increased since October last year when the UK average investment figure was six per cent of turnover.
Nearly half (46 per cent) acof SMEs in the North West believe the UK economy is in better condition today than it was before the recession in 2008-2009.
Nationally SMEs intend to invest, on average, nine per cent of their annual turnover, which could drive investment totalling £108 billion in the next 12 months.
According to the latest UK Government statistics, there are 5.2 million SMEs in the UK with a combined annual turnover of £1.2 trillion*.
The leading focus for North West SMEs is to invest in new equipment, with around a third (31 per cent) saying it is the top priority.
This is followed by investment in new premises or improvements to existing premises, with 11 per cent saying that will be their priority.
Findings across the UK are broadly similar, with the North East, East of England and the South East most confident with investment levels expected to be slightly above the UK average at 11 per cent.
The main reasons cited by SMEs for investing at the moment are the opportunities created in the domestic marketplace (21 per cent) and the improved economic conditions (18 per cent).
Only six per cent felt conditions for exporting have improved.
Alan Young, Regional Director for Business and Private Banking at Yorkshire Bank in the North West, said: “We know from official figures that the UK economy is healthier in terms of production, job creation and export levels.
“Our research shows SMEs are sufficiently confident in the economy to be increasing the level of investment in their businesses.”