Small and medium-sized business could invest more than £80bn in the UK over the next 12 months, according to a survey of 1,168 business owners by Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks. The survey concludes that more than four out of five UK SMEs plan to invest up to 7% of their turnover into business growth.
SME businesses say they are ready to invest in staff, equipment and training to capitalise on strengthening economic conditions and are predicting, on average, 10% turnover growth over the coming year, potentially a turnover increase of £160bn across the UK. Businesses in manufacturing and construction sectors are notably positive about their growth prospects.
However, despite this optimism, barriers to growth remain. Finding new customers and markets is a challenge for 4% of businesses - a common enough business problem - but a further 4% are struggling to secure growth capital. Money&Co, a crowd-funding site, conducted a survey based on asking senior management of UK SMEs about their last loan application and comparing it to the average sum actually agreed and loaned - the overall discrepancy between the two pointing to a funding gap of some £4.3bn.This research clearly shows that the banks are still not providing UK SMEs with the finance they need.