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Small And Medium-Sized Manufacturers ‘Must Prepare For Growing Pains’

Lawyers React To New CBI SME Trends Report


By Rob Dixon

Legal experts have welcomed new research showing that small and medium-sized businesses in the manufacturing sector are upbeat about the coming months, but warned specialist support will be vital if they are to cope with the inevitable growing pains.

According to the latest SME Trends survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), SMEs involved in manufacturing saw orders and output fall in the three months to April, but they remain confident they will see growth in both respects in the next quarter.

The study found that domestic orders are expected to stabilise with export orders predicted to grow strongly. Overall business optimism also steadied while those surveyed expect a modest increase in headcount across the coming three-month period.

Such figures have been welcomed by legal experts at national law firm Irwin Mitchell, which specialises in providing advice and support to businesses of all sizes in relation to legal issues from employment to real estate.

Fergal Dowling, an employment law specialist at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office who is also a member of the firm’s SME group, said: “Despite a difficult few months for small and medium-sized manufacturers, these figures show that they remain optimistic and confident about improvements over the coming months.

“We have seen similar stories emerge across a range of sectors in recent months. Hopes are high that the growth of small and medium-sized organisations will prove to be key for wider economic improvements.

“However, while growth is of course positive it does inevitably create growing pains. Companies need to ensure they have the right advice and support available to ensure they are able to take full advantage of the opportunities which come their way.

“For example, with the CBI survey highlighting expectations in relation to increasing headcount, firms will need to have quality employment law advice available to guarantee their HR processes and systems comply with the necessary regulations.

“We would urge companies to not ignore the importance of the right support and the huge difference it can make.”

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