Businesses across the West Midlands are preparing for an upturn in the regional economy next year with priorities for the next six months including staff training and development and business growth of up to 10 per cent.

The Business Factors Index report for the third quarter of 2013, produced by specialist business funder Bibby Financial Services, also suggests a higher level of confidence as more businesses report signs of a wider economic recovery.

However the survey of small and medium-sized enterprise owners also revealed that conditions are still challenging for many companies and top of the list of demands to help ease the burden is more funding support from the Government-backed business bank.

Sharon Wiltshire, of Bibby Financial Services in the West Midlands, said it was encouraging that businesses were looking to get fit for the future but raised a concern about the level of funding applications from local companies.

She said: “It is a really positive sign to see firms in the region investing in future growth and staff training as it reflects the level of ambition for the future in the West Midlands.

“However one of the more concerning findings in the report is that 86 per cent of firms in the West Midlands have not applied for business funding in the past 12 months.

“Companies looking at staff development and training as a priority need the finance behind them to be able to make that investment in their staff. Funding support is vital in underpinning a sustainable recovery.”