Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
5:00 AM 22nd February 2021

Optimistic Mid-market Yorkshire Companies Want Business Growth Measures Prioritised In March Budget

Ahead of the upcoming March Budget, new research* from business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP finds that many Yorkshire mid-sized companies want the Chancellor to focus on supporting business growth (58%), over COVID-19 support (28%) or recovery measures (14%).

A sharp uptick in optimism since the end of 2020 is a likely driver for this focus on growth, with 98% of businesses surveyed in the region feeling optimistic about the outlook of the UK economy over the next six months, a noticeable increase compared to December last year (63%). Outlook for revenue growth was also more positive, with 94% saying they were feeling optimistic compared with 69% in December.

Yorkshire and Humber businesses were more confident on growth in the wider economy than any other of the 11 regions surveyed.

To support their growth ambitions mid-market Yorkshire businesses would most like to see the government focus on:

Incentives to support low carbon business strategies (40%)
Measures to level up our economy, with more devolved powers and investment in the North and Midlands (38%)
Support for international trade (38%)

Though businesses are primarily focused on growth it’s clear that the mid-market has benefitted from government support measures throughout the pandemic, and that this support is still needed by many. Nationally, over a quarter of respondents (27%) want the government to extend or adapt current COVID-19 support measures.

Current schemes that the mid-market would most like to see extended are:
COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility (33%)
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans (33%)
Business Rates Holiday (32%)
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (29%)

Andy Wood
Andy Wood
Andy Wood, Yorkshire and North East Managing Partner at Grant Thornton UK LLP, said: “It’s great to see that Yorkshire business leaders are confident, I think this speaks volumes for the resilience and adaptability of mid-market business leaders over the last 12 months.

“It is pleasing too that our mid-market companies are eager to grasp the opportunity presented by the Green Industrial Revolution, are still hungry for more active measures to level-up the country and also want to see more support for international trade in a post-Brexit era.

“It is important that the government capitalises on the optimism our survey reveals and backs business in the right way. Though government support has been vital during the pandemic, as we start to plan our roadmap to recovery, we can see clearly from the findings of this research that businesses are starting to look longer term, prioritising incentives and investment that support growth, with less reliance on government handouts.”

*Censuswide (on behalf of Grant Thornton UK LLP) surveyed 605 senior decision makers in UK mid-market businesses between 28 January 2021 – 4 February 2021, including 50 from Yorkshire. The UK mid-market is defined as companies with an average annual turnover between £50million - £500million.