This year has been named as a “turning point” for British businesses, based on research carried out by financial services provider HSBC.
In their Business of Growth report, HSBC bring together a wealth of economic data, including the past 12 months of GDP forecasts – which have continually been revised upwards as the economy has outperformed expectations.
The UK as a whole has also outperformed its European counterparts in the single-currency Eurozone, while business confidence has steadily grown over the past year as well.
Amanda Murphy, head of business banking at HSBC, says: “Ambitious British businesses are saying they are going to invest this year and get on with growing.
“We want to support their ambitions by significantly increasing our net lending to businesses this year.”
That could come as music to the ears of many small businesses that have found it difficult to get approved for lending during the recent years of economic turbulence.
HSBC are also working to provide funds on a regional basis, so its 52 local business centres have their own budgets to work with from an overall £6 billion pot.
Ms Murphy adds: “By breaking down funds to a very local level, we are confident we can help make a real difference. We have put the funds into the hands of our local relationship managers.”
In Business of Growth, HSBC forecast a 7.1% increase in fixed investment in 2014, across physical assets like stock, premises and machinery, roughly double the 3.6% annual investment growth seen before the recession began.
Like the other economic data, this is greater than was previously expected – in spring 2013, the forecasted growth for this year was just 4.7%, 2.4 percentage points less than the current prediction.