PAY rises are being ­considered by 42% of Scottish firms this year, with fewer than 20% mulling cuts in earnings, a survey has found.

The survey, published by accountancy firm Price­waterhouseCoopers today, also shows 72% of Scottish companies have no plans for redundancies this year.

This was, from a workforce perspective, the most reassuring response in any nation or region in the UK apart from the east of England.

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The proportion of firms weighing pay rises for staff this year was significantly greater in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK. In the UK as whole, only 31% of firms said increases in employee earnings could be on the agenda this year.

The survey also found firms in Scotland appeared, overall, to be the least likely of those in any nation or region of the UK to move location this year for business or economic reasons.

Scottish businesses ­meanwhile reported costs, including energy bills and taxes, remained a major concern.

Other significant factors cited as barriers to investment included economic uncertainty and access to capital.

However, leaders of ­Scottish businesses cited private equity players as having been helpful when it came to raising funding.

Caroline Roxburgh, at PwC in Scotland, said: "There's no denying the difficult economic environment of recent years has been challenging for businesses, with many focusing on cost-cutting and efficiency in order to survive.

"Despite this, many Scottish businesses have held their nerve."