On the right track

According to recent research from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the number of SMEs making a profit has returned to pre-financial crisis levels in the last 12 months.

Stephen FordBy Stephen Ford, director, RBS Corporate Banking.

The annual small business survey revealed that 78% of SMEs made a profit or surplus in the last 12 months, up 6% since 2012, making it the highest level of profitable firms since 2007/08.

The survey of more than 4000 SMEs also shows that businesses are performing well in other aspects
  • 40% reported an increase in turnover
  • 51% expect to increase their turnover in next 12 months
  • 22% have taken on more staff
  • One third are planning a recruitment drive
So, after the biggest recession in peacetime history, there is recurring firm evidence that the UK economy is very much on the right track.

Chancellor George Osborne also mentioned a number of SME-friendly initiatives in his budget statement in March.

Extending the Lancashire Enterprise Zone, scrapping paper tax returns and unifying the corporation tax rate have all been well received, and retaining the £500,000 annual tax relief will encourage firms to invest in new plant and machinery to help further improve productivity.

UK economy in recovery, business confidence growing and banks lending again are all the ingredients that suggest now is a pretty good time to start a business!

The Royal Bank of Scotland remains focused on supporting the growth ambitions of businesses and is very much open for business as we move forward to become Williams & Glyn.

It’s very apparent the local economic outlook is very positive and we are currently seeing a lot of activity in the housing, professionals, leisure and manufacturing sectors, providing real evidence of a return to growth in the local economy and for our customers as they look to expand. As a bank we are working hard to support our existing and new customers to understand what their business needs are and to see how we can support them on their journey.