THE Government’s greatest priority should be investment in the country’s infrastructure, according to a sizeable number of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in the south east.

A quarterly survey carried out by the Close Brothers Business Barometer found almost two thirds of respondents believe upgrading infrastructure is the most pressing issue to address and feel this is what the economy most needs in order to prosper.

It also revealed that a further 30 per cent of SMEs surveyed in the south east believe that a modern infrastructure is vital if their business is to achieve growth.

Michael Cox, regional sales director for Close Brothers Invoice Finance in the south east, said: “I’m sure that many SMEs were heartened by the recent announcement of a new national infrastructure plan outlining £375 billion of planned public and private sector investment.

“The proposal sets out vital long-term investment for energy transport, flood defence, waste, water and communications infrastructure up to 2030 and beyond.

“This expenditure will not only create jobs and stimulate the economy in the short term but with upgraded networks in place the UK will be better positioned to attract foreign investment and ensure long-term growth and prosperity.

“Many business owners will be excited by the prospect of this sizable investment by the government.

“Advanced transport networks and energy supplies will create efficiencies for businesses, while improved access to superfast broadband will benefit those that trade online immensely.

“By investing in infrastructure, we can ensure that businesses in the region are well equipped and ready to meet the challenges that recovery may bring head on.”