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South Yorkshire businesses primed for growth as confidence rises

South Yorkshire’s business leaders are feeling more confident about their future prospects and plan to invest in growth opportunities next year according to research from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

More than 90% of those surveyed said they felt more optimistic about their businesses’ future growth prospects now compared to 12 months ago, suggesting the region could benefit from an uplift in business confidence next year.

Over 80% of respondents also said that they plan to invest in growth opportunities next year using their existing cash reserves or by securing new sources of finance.

The results were gathered at the Lloyds Bank ‘Big Picture’ event held at Sheffield’s Cutler’s Hall last night, attended by more than 150 business leaders from across South Yorkshire. The event brought together policymakers, local enterprise partners, academics and business leaders to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing Yorkshire-based companies.

It included a panel debate featuring Tony Pedder, Master Cutler, Chair and Pro Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, Jolyon Harrison, Chief Executive Officer, MJ Gleeson Group plc, David Hanney, Chief Executive Officer, Planet X and Professor Richard Jones, Pro Vice Chancellor, Research and Innovation, University of Sheffield.

The research also revealed that one of the greatest challenges facing South Yorkshire business leaders is attracting and retaining key talent. Almost 60 per cent of respondents said they struggled to recruit good people and three quarters said a skills shortage could hinder the economic recovery in 2014.

Tim Pryor, Area Director for Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking in South Yorkshire, said: “South Yorkshire businesses have proved to be resilient during the recession and it is encouraging to see that many local business leaders are beginning to feel more confident and optimistic about their trading prospects. Renewed confidence will be a key catalyst to help stimulate the region’s economic revival.

“The Big Picture Events are designed to encourage debate around the steps businesses can take to grow and evolve. The commitment of South Yorkshire’s business community was evident through the lively and thought provoking debate that took place on a range of subjects at Cutler’s Hall. I would like to thank all of our panellists and guests for their valuable contribution and support.”

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