Hope for the future

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Businesses in the East Midlands were among the most confident in the country about their future prospects during the second quarter of 2011, as revealed in the Bibby Financial Services Business Factors Index.

The Index, which tracks the turnover levels among nearly 4,000 of Bibby Financial Services’ UK client-base, alongside the outlook of 450 business owners across the UK, shows more than half (56 per cent) of small and medium-sized businesses in the East Midlands are ‘hopeful for the future’ - the third highest in the UK - while eight per cent suggested they had actually benefited from the recession, more than doubling the figure of three per cent reported in the Q2 2010 Index.

Just 11 per cent of firms in the region claim conditions are ‘tough’ and that they are ‘only just surviving’. In sharp contrast, 45 per cent of businesses in the North West, 34 per cent in Greater London and 21 per cent in Scotland admitted to experiencing difficulties.

In fact, 17 per cent of owners and managers in the East Midlands believe their businesses are performing better than they were a year ago and 60 per cent say things have remained stable over the past 12 months.

Despite the positive outlook, East Midlands business leaders are still calling for more support from the Government, with 38 per cent urging a continued freeze on interest rates and more than one in four (27 per cent) seeking a loosening of lending criteria.

Sharon Wiltshire, Bibby Financial Services spokesperson for the East Midlands, comments: “While they may be in a prime position compared to other parts of the country – particularly the struggling North West - it is more important than ever that firms in the East Midlands have access to the necessary funds in place to maintain a healthy cash flow and embrace new opportunities as and when they arise.”

l The Bibby Financial Services Business Factors Index is available online at www.bibbyfinancialservices.com