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North East Businesses batten down the hatches


Businesses in the North East believe they will face much tougher trading conditions over the next year, with almost two-thirds (65%) expecting their markets to be more difficult than the previous 12 months.

According to figures releases today in Yorkshire Bank’s inaugural Business Confidence Index, although not a single business believes conditions will actually become easier, an encouraging 35 per cent remain optimistic about their overall prospects.
Far from being bogged down with thoughts of a downturn in conditions over the next year, nearly a quarter (24%) of SMEs in the region actually finds their market easier than they did five years ago. This is significantly more positive than the national average of just 13 per cent.

“It’s hardly surprising that UK SMEs are expecting a bit more turbulence in their markets.  For the past five years the UK has been both economically and politically stable; house prices continued to rise steadily and interest rates were, up until the start of the year, at expected levels.  However, since the start of the year we’ve seen five rate rises, and the US sub-prime market collapse,” said Kath Myers, regional director of Yorkshire Bank.

Nationally, 60 per cent of SME businesses believe trading conditions will be harder yet just under half (46%) remain positive about their prospects in the coming year.

In the North East, 59 per cent of businesses believe the UK is now a less attractive place to do business than five years ago.  Only six per cent think the country is now more attractive – almost a third of the national average (17%).

Kath Myers, regional director for Yorkshire Bank said: “It is easy to risk talking ourselves into recessionary conditions and while it’s clear the perception is one of worsening conditions, the actions and optimism of North East businesses indicate they are ready to meet any challenges head on.”

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