‘We’ll invest if you do, too’, firms tell Government

A majority of North West firms say they are prepared to spend to aid out-COVID recovery and want the Government to match their ambitions. Tony McDonough reports

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson must invest in infrastructure, North West businesses say


Entrepreneurs in Merseyside and across the North West are ready to invest in their businesses to boost the post-COVID recovery – and they are urging the Government to do the same.

A new survey from accountancy firm BDO reveals 60% of businesses in the region believe now is the right time for them to inject capital to boost their growth. And 47% are calling on the Government to invest in local infrastructure.

The latest BDO Rethinking the Economy survey of 500 mid-sized businesses, found that the top three North West investment priorities in 2021 are focusing on technology to support people working remotely, outsourcing financial functions, and becoming more energy efficient. 

And they say the Government must do the same in order to make significant progress in ‘levelling up’ the UK regions over the next three years. According to the survey, 60% of companies believe investment needs to be made in developing more commercial space for businesses, with nearly half (47%) stating that investing in local infrastructure is key.

Ed Dwan, partner and head of BDO in the North West, said: “It’s very clear that managing the impact of ongoing COVID-19 restrictions is still a number one priority for businesses, as they continue to focus on growing and protecting revenues, as well as trying to restructure their workforce amidst a third national lockdown.

“Despite these immediate concerns, it’s encouraging to see a real appetite for investment amongst the region’s mid-sized businesses, as a means of improving operational efficiencies and prioritising core business functions.

“There’s little doubt that the ‘levelling up’ agenda has been called into serious question over the last 12 months, with many arguing that the global pandemic has only served to widen the divide. But, businesses in the region are clearly leading by example when it comes to investment and the hope is that the Government will follow suit.” 

The Rethinking the Economy survey also revealed that more than a quarter of North West businesses expect to recover from the pandemic within seven to 12 months, but an increase in product and service pricing will need to happen in the next three to six months in order to achieve that aim. 

At the same time, 40% of businesses believe restrictions need to be relaxed as soon as possible to help support sectors, with nearly half insisting that the Government should extend repayment terms on COVID-19 loans (43%). In addition, a third believe reducing the administrative burden of running a business will help aid recovery.

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