UK SMEs plan £1.7bn investment with Brexit uncertainty ending

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK are planning a £1.7bn investment boost over the next two years as uncertainty around the Brexit stalemate ends, according to a new survey from finance specialist, Together.

The survey found that more than a quarter of owners and senior executives at SMEs – the equivalent of 1.6 million businesses – were planning to move premises as concern over the UK’s departure from the EU begins to fade away. Another 23% of companies who took part in Together’s survey suggested they plan to expand their workforce in the next two years.

The SMEs suggesting they were planning investment said they expected to spend an average of almost £370,000 each.

Businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber as well as those in the South-East were expected to invest the most – nearly £450,000 on average – while businesses in London were found to be planning to invest an average £420,000, according to the survey results.

The survey, which considered research among 300 SME owners and senior executives at firms employing 250 or fewer across the UK, also found that one in five SMEs were planning to upgrade and refurbish their existing premises.

Another 12% indicated they expect to buy new buildings, with 7% suggesting they would build their own property, the study revealed.

The survey results were published after the EU withdrawal bill was voted through the House of Commons earlier this month, with just The House of Lords left to pass through, before the UK intends to leave the EU on January 31.

Head of corporate relationships at Together, Andrew Charnley, commented: “The investment taps can now be turned back on with UK SMEs expecting to pump more than £1.7bn into the national economy.

“Our survey has identified major commitments in the North and Midlands in particular where firms plan to spend more than a third of the cash.

“However, they will need support from lenders who do not take a ‘one size fits all’ approach and are willing to look at proposals in the round including focusing on business prospects and regional differences.”

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