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Lincolnshire firms investing more, survey finds

Businesses in Lincolnshire are investing or planning to invest more in new equipment and staff training, according to a survey.

The latest Lincolnshire Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) found that increased optimism and growing demand led to plans for more investment.

The survey, which is a snapshot of Lincolnshire’s economy every quarter, shows a steady but positive picture for local firms.

Additionally, more companies say they intend to expand their workforce within the next three months.

Again, manufacturing was a particularly strong sector, with 40% of respondents saying they intend to invest more in plant and machinery; and 34% investing in training.

For the next three months, 23% of manufacturing and service sector businesses in the survey said they expect their workforce to increase.

Only a small percentage of 4% said it will decrease, which is an improvement of 19% from last quarter.

The main concern for businesses remains the skills gap. 60% of businesses trying to recruit last quarter found it difficult recruiting skilled manual and technical staff, with 40% struggling to recruit managers.

Other results showed a positive figure for sales and bookings in the UK market, as 37% of businesses reported an overall improvement as did that in the overseas market.

Simon Beardsley, Chief Executive at the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The last QES results in January 2014 showed a very high level of business optimism for the coming year, which is now being reflected in investment plans this quarter.

“Businesses are investing now in anticipation of forthcoming growth, signs of which we have been observing over the past 12 months.

“Plus, more businesses reported that they believe the company’s profitability will increase over the next 12 months, implying that they are still very optimistic for the coming year.”

James Pinchbeck, Marketing Partner at Streets Chartered Accountants added: “There appears to be renewed business confidence, which is starting to manifest itself in businesses looking to make significant investment in capital projects to meet the challenges of renewed and hopefully sustainable growth.”

The Lincolnshire Quarterly Economic Survey is undertaken by Lincolnshire County Council on behalf of the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce and in partnership with the University of Lincoln.