CONFIDENCE is returning to York and North Yorkshire's businesses as almost nine out of ten reveal investment plans.

According to new research by Yorkshire Bank, 89 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the region said they plan to make a "significant investment" in their business in the next year.

New equipment, staff training and creating jobs are top of the shopping list for York and North Yorkshire SMEs.

On average, York and North Yorkshire SMEs are set to invest around 11 per cent of their turnover back into their businesses, which based on official figures, could contribute to around £8 billion of investment to the wider Yorkshire economy.

Rick Warburton, head of Yorkshire Bank’s Business and Private Banking Centre in York, said: “An increasing level of confidence is playing a critical role in fuelling the recovering economy, and our ongoing research indicates that as business optimism returns, the SME segment in North Yorkshire is actively preparing to change up a gear to take advantage.

“Compared to this time last year, we believe an increasing number of businesses are now preparing themselves for growth.

“The message we are hearing from the majority of North Yorkshire SMEs is they feel there will be opportunities for them to grow in the year ahead."

The new research comes as Yorkshire Bank launches Business Week, from May 12 to 16, which will see more than 250 customer-focused events staged at the Bank’s UK-wide network of Business and Private Banking Centres, including York.