UK firms staying ahead through investments

Businesses in the UK are spending to stay ahead of the competition, a new report by Lombard, UK's asset finance provider says.

According to the latest Attitudes to Business Investment survey, 82 per cent of businesses are looking to invest, in order to improve their efficiency. Moreover, 71 per cent said investment is of the utmost importance when it comes to boosting productivity. Among manufacturers, that number rises to 78 per cent.

For 62 per cent, new technology would mean an efficiency increase, and 45 per cent believe it would boost competitiveness. For a quarter of manufacturers, investing would boost exports.

Ian Isaac, Head of Lombard said, “It’s very encouraging that UK businesses and manufacturers in particular are taking an enterprising approach to the importance of investing to secure their place in the competitive global arena.”

Ian adds, “The findings of the survey indicate that UK businesses are very aware of what they need to do in order to secure ongoing and sustainable growth. Within their business plans, investment aimed at securing innovation, improving productivity and establishing strong export markets will continue to play a fundamental role in the future health of the UK economy.”

With that in mind, 57 per cent of all businesses are planning to invest to support export, with that number jumping to 80 per cent among manufacturers. This year, export is the main area of investment for a third of manufacturers.

Manufacturers would also love seeing more initiative from the Government, with 70 per cent saying it should do more to support export.

Lee Hopley, Chief Economist at EEF, the Manufacturers’ Organisation, comments, “It’s the worst kept secret that the UK has a big productivity challenge. We’ve lost a lot of ground since the financial crisis, but the UK has some real potential strength in its industrial sector, which historically has a good track record in delivering productivity gains. The need for a laser-like focus on driving through efficiency improvements, innovating and investing in new technologies is central to the business model of manufacturers, a fact confirmed in this new research. While we see lots of concrete steps being taken by manufacturers to grow and be competitive in a challenging economic climate, it’s never job done.