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North West businesses batten down the hatches


Businesses in the North West believe they will face much tougher trading conditions over the next year, with 58 per cent expecting their markets to be more difficult than the previous 12 months.

Figures revealed today in Yorkshire Bank’s inaugural Business Confidence Index found that while not a single business questioned believes conditions will actually become easier, an encouraging 41 per cent remain optimistic about their overall prospects.

However, the region is significantly more positive than the neighbouring North East where 65 per cent of businesses expect their markets to be more difficult and just 35 per cent are optimistic about their prospects.

“It’s hardly surprising that SMEs are expecting a bit more turbulence in their markets. For the past five years the UK has been both economically and politically stable. However, since the start of the year we’ve seen five rate rises and the US sub-prime market collapse causing considerable unease in the business community.” said Brian Colquhoun, regional director for Yorkshire Bank.“

Across the UK, 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.

Forty-four per cent of businesses in the North West feel the UK is now a less attractive place to do business than five years ago. Only eight per cent believe the country is now a more attractive place to do business (national average 17%).

Brian Colquhoun, regional director for Yorkshire Bank concluded: “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 West businesses indicate they are ready to meet any challenges head on.”

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