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Companies forecast the economic recovery will continue

SCOTLAND'S economic recovery is expected to continue in 2014, according to a survey of firms.

The latest Bank of Scotland Business Monitor confirmed the economic ­recovery had been carried through into the autumn of 2013, with this "accompanied by high expectations for the next six months".

Bank of Scotland chief economist Donald MacRae said that, overall, the Scottish economy should record a year of growth for 2013, adding that the suggestions were this recovery would continue in 2014.

A total of 37% of firms surveyed for the business monitor said their turn­over had increased in the three months up to the end of November 2013, with 41% reporting this as being unchanged.

Just more than one-fifth (22%) reported a decline in turnover in the three months.

When this total is subtracted from the proportion of firms that had seen their turnover grow, it gives a net balance of +15% - the second-highest result in the past six years.

Mr MacRae said: "Expectations for 2014 remain high, suggesting the recovery will continue into 2014. Consolidation of the recovery would be enhanced by firms increasing investment."

A separate poll of ­business customers published last week suggested thousands of jobs were to be created by Scotland's small and medium-sized firms during the next year.

Scotland's 326,000 SMEs plan to recruit almost 4% more staff, which would be equivalent to 40,000 new jobs if this was applied to the sector.

Finance Secretary John Swinney welcomed the latest findings, saying: "There are grounds for optimism and there are signals that the Scottish ­economy is likely to strengthen further in the next 12 months, with recent economic data indicating the ­economy as a whole will return to pre-recession levels in 2014.

"There will be no let-up in the ­Scottish Government's commitment to securing economic growth, which is why in this spending review period we are investing £10 billion in capital projects, building homes, schools and facilities to support the economy."

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