State of the Region 2013: More confidence despite tough economy

BUSINESSES across the North West, Yorkshire and the West Midlands are united in their view that 2013, while likely to remain another difficult year, does at least offer some hope for growth.’s annual State of the Region survey revealed a more positive picture than time last year when few were looking at the 12 months ahead with any kind of optimism.

This year all businesses, regardless of location, appear to be more confident about the future. To a greater or lesser extent all firms believe that growth will take place.

The North West was the least confident of our three regions, with 44% expecting turnover to grow in the next 12 month. By contrast, West Midlands was the most confident, 54% of respondents expecting growth followed by 49% in Yorkshire. has once again run this milestone project in association with lead sponsor, law firm DLA Piper. The initiative is also supported by Yorkshire Bank and the CBI.

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The vast majority of respondents still have confidence that their region remains a good place to do business.

Those in the West Midlands are the strongest advocates with 79% of respondents backing the region compared with 70% in the North West and 64% in Yorkshire.

The consensus (Yorkshire 63%; the North West –62%; and the West Midlands –48%) is that any growth that does take place is likely to be organic.

The West Midlands is also the strongest supporter of the Local Enterprise Partnership network with 39% of respondents there believing the LEPs have had a positive impact on business. Yorkshire is less convinced at 24%, while in the North West only 21% of respondents have backed the partnerships.

Commenting on the comparisons David Gray, Manchester office managing partner, DLA Piper, said: “Last year business leaders across the North West, Yorkshire and the Midlands generally expressed unease about the state of the UK economy. A year later and not unsurprisingly, the overriding theme remains largely the same with many expecting little or no growth. davidgraydlapiper

“However, North West businesses have shown a high level of resilience to get them this far through a prolonged period of very challenging conditions and now want to work together to promote the region’s commercial strengths and innovation and to attract long-term investment, skilled and motivated  people and the new businesses into the area.

“It’s clear that each region shares the same concerns for 2013 and although many believe that increased confidence is a prerequisite for growth, many are just not in the position to go out on a limb and attempt to buck the cautious trends we have seen during 2012.

“Growth for many will come from working harder on regional, national and international opportunities, particularly beyond the troubled Eurozone, and ensuring that there is the right capability to exploit them. “

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