Plant investment points to growing confidence in Norfolk

Caroline Williams, chief executive of Norfolk Chamber

Caroline Williams, chief executive of Norfolk Chamber - Credit: Archant

Norfolk firms have upped their investment in plant and machinery in a further sign that the economic recovery is taking hold.

More businesses within the county's manufacturing and services sector are freeing-up funds to buy new equipment, according to the British Chamber of Commerce's (BCC) quarterly economic survey.

Fresh evidence suggests that profitability will pick up in Norfolk's manufacturing sector, while more money will be spent on training, the survey said.

But Norfolk's export balances in the services industry dipped slightly in the first quarter – although continued to remain strong over all.

Caroline Williams, chief executive of Norfolk Chamber, said: 'It is great to see another positive set of results. Confidence in Norfolk is high and our members are determined to continue driving the recovery. We are brilliant at services and very successful at exporting our knowledge-based industries all over the world.

'This includes everything from accountancy and marketing through to literature and the IT sector.

'In addition, our manufacturing sector, despite a recent slow-down, continues to be strong. But Norfolk firms are tenacious and ambitious, and more support is needed if we are to place the recovery on a sustainable, broader footing in the medium-term.'

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Meanwhile, John Longworth, director general of the BCC said: 'We have witnessed many false dawns during the economic recovery, and external shocks still loom on the horizon.

'Given that over the next year or so we face political change at home and abroad, long-term policies that support our businesses as they look to grow and invest are crucial.

'Access to finance and export support also remain vital if we are to secure a truly great economic recovery. Only by repairing our broken business finance system will viable, growing firms gain access to the capital that will allow them to invest in their staff and machinery, and enter new markets.

'And despite recent falls, inflation remains a key concern for our businesses, and the Bank of England must strive to maintain an investment-friendly environment, with clarity on forward interest rates and action to keep inflation low.'

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