By Daniel Hunter

Ambitious small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) which are now planning to increase investment have been warned by a leading commercial lawyer to ensure that their ability to create jobs in the future isn’t adversely affected by not seeking the necessary legal advice.

The warning follows findings from the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) Barometer which has highlighted a significant rise in the proportion of SME manufacturers looking to invest in new machinery and property.

"These findings are very promising and are another signal that confidence is returning to the economy. It is particularly encouraging that manufacturers are predicting an increase in sales as many of these businesses are ideally placed to drive job creation in the medium-term," Steve Beahan, partner and member of Irwin Mitchell's SME group, said.

"When it comes to investment, however, it is important that businesses don't rush in and make the wrong decision as it can have a lasting impact and limit growth opportunities in the future.

"Whether it is the T&Cs on a new property lease or contractual arrangements with a supplier of a new piece of equipment, it is vital that businesses are protected - particularly if there are unforeseen circumstances which affect sales in the short-term.

“Recruitment is likely to increase as businesses enter the investment stage and it is also crucial that bosses have the right support in place to deal with new red tape which they might not be familiar with.

"Although the economy is showing signs of improvement, the climate is still uncertain. The most recent SME Trends survey by the CBI, for example, found that sales for manufacturers had fallen in the three months to April. Although this survey by MAS is more recent, it does demonstrate that the economy is still recovering and uncertain.

“Irwin Mitchell welcomes the news that manufacturers are looking to expand, but we would urge companies to not ignore the importance of the right legal support and the huge difference it can make.”

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