East Anglia: Most of region’s SMEs plan new investment, Bibby Financial Services survey shows

Sharon Wiltshire, managing director for Bibby Financial Services in East Anglia.

Sharon Wiltshire, managing director for Bibby Financial Services in East Anglia. - Credit: Archant

Nearly two-thirds of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in East Anglia are planning investment during the current quarter, according to a survey by Bibby Financial Services

The survey of 1,000 UK firms with turnover up to £25million found that 62% of those in East Anglia plan to invest with technology (30%), recruitment (24%) and training (21%) their top priorities.

In addition, 15% plan to invest in new premises and 11% to focus on product design.

Sharon Wiltshire, managing director for Bibby Financial Services in East Anglia, said: “These results are positive as they show owners and management teams investing in the long-term future of their businesses.

“The increase in those investing in new premises is a clear indication of these plans and it’s likely that the effects will be felt later in the year, which could spell more positive news in terms of GDP as we lead-up to 2015.”

When asked about expectations for the months ahead, more than half of firms(58%) said they expect to achieve sales growth and only 1% foresee a decline in orders in the three months leading up to October.

Gross domestic product estimates announced in July show the UK returning to pre-recession levels and Sharon Wiltshire says the latest findings highlight longer-term growth aspirations among smaller businesses in the region.

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She said she would also expect the findings to be reflected in employment figures later in the year but cautioned that aspirations need to be coupled with finance to support growth.

“If businesses have the financial means to grow, then undoubtedly they will need to take-on staff, move to larger premises and buy equipment and machinery, which all have a positive multiplier effect on the economy,” she added.

“But too often, ambition is stifled by cashflow issues, such as late payment or customer insolvency so having funding in place is a huge advantage and can facilitate these plans.”