Economic confidence is a delicate flower that needs nurturing to be able to grow.
That’s one of the messages coming out of a recent meeting in Milton Keynes where companies reported renewed confidence in prospects for growth and investment following the return of more positive trading conditions.
Assurance, tax and advisory services firm PwC, based in Central Business Exchange, Midsummer Boulevard, carried out a survey at a recent event and more than 80 per cent of firms felt business had improved over the past six months.
Looking to the long term, almost all businesses expect to grow within the next three to five years, but 59 per cent believe that more positive commentary from business leaders and organisations about the state of the economy is still needed to facilitate this. Improved access to finance (23 per cent) and the ability to manage skills gaps and retain talent (9 per cent) were also cited as important factors.
Paul Norbury, partner and private business expert at PwC in Milton Keynes said: “There has been a lot of positive commentary in the news agenda recently which reflects this growing optimism among private businesses. Positive GDP growth figures and better economic forecasts have helped to generate a more confident outlook and businesses must capitalise on this momentum to encourage business growth.”
When surveyed more than 70 per cent also said their confidence in the local economy had grown.
Other feedback revealed that almost 90 per cent of businesses feel confident their company will grow over the next 12 months, with a third of those feeling ‘very confident’ that this is achievable.
When asked about investment, over two-thirds of private businesses (63 per cent) said they felt more willing to invest than they did a year ago.
Mr Norbury added: “Private businesses in the region are aware that they need to stay focused on pursuing growth and as confidence starts to pick up, this will begin to translate into more investment in job creation, innovation and other aspects of a strategic growth plan.”