Small firms still aiming to invest despite rising costs

Scottish small businesses’ profit margins were squeezed by rising fuel and utility costs and weak trading conditions during the last quarter of 2012, according to research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Yet the FSB’s quarterly confidence index shows the proportion of Scottish firms planning to invest in the next 
12 months is rising, although it still lags behind the figure for the UK as a whole.

Andy Willox, the FSB’s Scottish policy convenor, said: “When it’s more expensive to do business, you need to work harder just to stand still. We need firm action on fuel and utility costs.

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“These figures suggest more firms want to generate more business by investing. This is encouraging, as investment spending gets money moving round the economy, fills order books, builds confidence and drives growth.”

He added: “Where smaller firms identify growth opportunities, it is vital lenders look carefully at their plans and at the potential returns. We can’t have sound, viable schemes turned down because finance providers won’t take calculated risks.”