Forget the recession – growth is coming

On the up: Tom Fox, MD of Bowker BMW, is optimistic about the economy
On the up: Tom Fox, MD of Bowker BMW, is optimistic about the economy
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Enough talk of recession – let’s move forward with optimism into 2014.

That was the message today from leading Preston businessman Tom Fox.

His message came as a new survey showed that one-third of the North West’s Small and Medium Sized Enterprises intend to recruit new staff in 2014.

Mr Fox, managing director of Bowker BMW, said: “Here at our Preston dealership we have good reason to be excited about the New Year.

“We’re recruiting more staff. And we will complete our newly-refurbished dealership extension in 2014.

“We’re predicting that our own success mirrors a positive mood amongst the region’s businesses. We sense a renewed optimism.

“People are getting bored with talk of recession now. And I think the business owners I speak to are, like Bowker, ready to commit to a new period of growth in the county.”

According to the new Yorkshire Bank survey, 35 per cent of the region’ s SMEs intend to recruit new employees, with those who plan to create new jobs saying that they expect to grow staff numbers by more than eight per cent.

If this figure is applied to the total SME workforce of just over one million, more than 40,000 new jobs could be created.

The recruitment intentions uncovered by the research were supported by significant investment plans. One quarter of the region’s SMEs questioned said they would spend additional money on new staff over the next year.

Some sectors are set to benefit more than others from the jobs boom, with more than half of accounting firms and more than half of manufacturing SMEs citing plans to create jobs. Recruitment intention was lowest among wholesale and retail traders, with just nine per cent of those questioned planning to hire new staff.

Just two per cent said they would cut staff, suggesting that the economic squeeze on UK businesses is loosening its grip.

The research points to growing confidence among the UK business community as more than half of SMEs questioned said that the UK economy offers good long-term prospects for business growth.