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Survey reveals Yorkshire businesses are feeling hopeful about the year ahead
According to a recent survey carried out by Yorkshire Chartered Accountants, Lambert Roper & Horsfield, business owners and managers are heading into 2010 with more optimism than last year, but concerns still remain regarding the lack of bank lending, tax levels and red tape,.
The Halifax-based firm questioned clients from a range of industries and found that while many had experienced a tough time during 2009, hopes were high for better times ahead.
In response to being asked how business had been for them during 2009, 70% said it had been tougher than usual (26% a lot worse, and 44% a little worse) while just 18% reported that they had experienced a better year than usual (11% a little better and 7% a lot better) In addition, a handful of firms (11%) reported that they had observed no change.
On a brighter note, when asked about the future, over half of those questioned (51%) said they expected business to be better in 2010 and 30% said they thought it would remain at around the same level as last year. Only 18% felt that business might deteriorate for them during this year.
As the country looks towards the approaching election, the majority of those questioned (59%) believe that the Conservative party is proposing the best policies for business, while just 4% are in favour of Labour. Likewise, just 4% feel that a Liberal Democrat government will be best for businesses, while 33% do not think any of the parties are best suited to the improvement of business prospects.
When questioned on what they felt would present the biggest challenges to business in 2010, there was a fairly mixed response. 22% said they believed that high levels of red tape would be the biggest obstacle, while 26% felt that it would be tax levels. 11% answered that late payers would be their largest concern; while 37% felt that the lack of lending from banks would present the toughest challenge to businesses trying to prosper during the next year.
The expectation of an improving economy presents the most opportunity for businesses during 2010 according to 81% of respondents. 7% feel that improvements in bank lending may present some improvement, 4% believe the availability of skilled workers will lend a hand, while the other 4% feel that a reduction in red tape holds the key to their success this year.
Lambert Roper and Horsfield partner, Nick Frost said: “It is refreshing to see a good level of optimism within the business world when looking to the future, as there is no doubt we have witnessed a very tough time for businesses of all sizes.
“However, it is important to remember that the country is not in the clear just yet and that there are still some very real concerns such as tax levels and red tape, issues that the next government needs to bear in mind when setting out new policies.”