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2 August 2003

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Peterborough businesses planning for growth


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Half the companies in Peterborough expect to expand their workforce within the next twelve months according to research carried out for Greater Peterborough Investment Agency (GPIA) - and almost a quarter expect to have expanded their current premises or moved into larger ones within the next three years.

The research - carried out over the summer months and sponsored by computer network consultancy Good Systems - demonstrates that the Peterborough economy is poised for growth.

Around 2,500 local businesses were sent questionnaires asking them about their history of doing business in Peterborough and their future plans.

One of the key findings of the report which analyses the replies is that firms which began in Peterborough are planning for faster growth than those which have recently moved into the city. 52 per cent of 'local-born' companies expect to take on more staff over the next twelve months compared with 45 per cent of those which have their origins outside the city.

GPIA chief executive Gloria Milne said: "The results highlight the importance of looking after companies which are already here as well as encouraging new ones. But they also show that companies which move in with just a handful of staff can rapidly grow to employ large numbers of people.

"The survey also demonstrates that there is significant potential demand for new commercial property, with so many companies predicting either expansion of their current premises or a move to a new location within the city."

But she cautioned against expecting a mini-boom on the basis of the research results. She warned: "Business plans always depend upon economic circumstances. Not every business which says today that it will be taking on new staff next year will actually meet that expectation."

Among other findings of the research is that local companies overwhelmingly support some of the city's planned development initiatives. For example, 28 per cent of companies think that the proposed innovation centre would directly benefit their own businesses and 67 per cent think it would benefit the city. There is a similar opinion of the South Bank development, with 28 per cent of companies saying they will directly benefit when the project proceeds and 59 per cent saying it will benefit the city.

Support for the development of Peterborough's university is even greater, with 78 per cent of firms saying the city would benefit from the establishment of a full university and 37 per cent saying they would benefit directly.

Gloria Milne said: "The backing for the university and other future developments is very encouraging and helps support the case for the funding needed to turn these plans into realities.

"Overall, the data we have collected through this research has provided us with a useful picture of the way businesses in the city are planning for growth and the economic impact of the companies which have moved into the city over recent years."

October 2002

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