Scots firms fear falling behind in tech investment

Photo: Andrew Stuart/BIZ: BUDGET'Chief Finacial Officer George Elliott of Wolfson Microelectronics seen here in the company's engineering department on Bernard Terrace, Edinburgh; April 7, 2003. Wolfson make audio micro-chip for instance their WM8721 chip for the Apple iPod MP3 player and other luxury goods.

Photo: Andrew Stuart/BIZ: BUDGET'Chief Finacial Officer George Elliott of Wolfson Microelectronics seen here in the company's engineering department on Bernard Terrace, Edinburgh; April 7, 2003. Wolfson make audio micro-chip for instance their WM8721 chip for the Apple iPod MP3 player and other luxury goods.

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A quarter of Scottish small firms fear they are falling behind competitors in investing in technology, according to new research.

Small businesses north of the border are spending less on new technology compared with the UK as a whole, a survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) found.

Small firms in Scotland invested an average of £2,650 in new technology in the last year, compared with a UK-wide figure of £3,500.

That is despite four in five Scottish small businesses believing that they can grow by developing such technologies, the FSB said.

Improvements

Around half of the Scottish respondents to the survey said they would invest more if their area had better local digital infrastructure.

The FSB in Scotland said the research reinforced the case for the Scottish Government and agencies to deliver universal next-generation broadband access, as well as improved mobile coverage and 4G services.

Andy Willox, the FSB’s Scottish policy convenor, said: “No longer is information technology the preserve of specialist businesses operating from shiny offices in media villages.

“Firms recognise that technology can give them an edge but, worryingly, Scottish firms seem less keen to invest than their counterparts elsewhere in the UK.

“Better infrastructure, they say, would encourage them to invest and we look forward to the promise of improvements in this area becoming a reality.

“Scottish business owners, too, must regularly ensure they’re taking advantage of the opportunities which new technology presents.”

The FSB said it had received 2,200 responses across the UK and 230 from Scotland after polling its members in January.

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