SMEs investing to benefit from recovery, says HSBC

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SMALL and medium-sized businesses in Yorkshire are taking action to benefit from the economic recovery, but need to make positive investment decisions now to fully capitalise in the coming years or they may miss the boat, according to HSBC.

The bank’s new Ambitious Businesses report, issued today, shows almost two thirds - 65 per cent - of SMEs in the region are actively planning for growth this year, and 62 per cent of business leaders are confident in the current economic climate, up from 40 per cent the same time last year.

However, more than two fifths of businesses - 41 per cent - in Yorkshire still believe it is too risky to make significant investments at this time.

Nationally, the HSBC report highlights improving conditions are boosting SME revenues across the country, with the SME sector believing the recovery has boosted revenues, by an average of £30,000 for each micro-business to date this year, £80,000 for each small firm and nearly £440,0000 for each medium-sized business.

The report tells those businesses not planning for growth or making any significant growth investment this year that now is not the time to sit still.

As part of its £6bn SME Fund, HSBC has allocated £500m of new lending to Yorkshire to help businesses in the region achieve their growth ambitions.

Mike Hemingway, a commercial director at the bank in West Yorkshire, said: “We’re experiencing an increase in our lending and the quality of lending proposals we’re receiving highlight that businesses are viewing the future with real optimism.

“Companies are increasingly requesting our support with access finance for plant and machinery, purchase of premises and investment in stock, demonstrating that confidence has definitely returned.

“With the indicators all looking positive, now is the time to invest in growth and I’d encourage SMEs to find out what support is available to them.”

Amanda Murphy, head of business banking for HSBC, said a sizeable minority of businesses are understandably cautious about the recovery.