NORTH-EAST businesses hope to create more jobs as economic confidence continues to rise, a report has said.

A survey from business advisers and accountants, Clive Owen and Co, revealed small and medium-sized firms are feeling optimistic ahead of Wednesday's Budget.

The report, which covered more than 500 businesses in the North-East and North Yorkshire, says 58 per cent are looking to take on new staff in the next 12 months, with about 60 per cent aiming to increase planned capital expenditure.

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It added 42 per cent of companies believe the Budget will stimulate further economic growth.

The survey, which included firms in the IT, manufacturing, retail and construction sectors, also called for Chancellor George Osborne to extend the Help to Buy scheme, increase tax allowances, reduce VAT and hold interest rates.

Alan Moore, a tax partner at Clive Owen and Co, in Darlington, said: “We’ve felt for a while now that the businesses we work with are seeing more than the green shoots of recovery.

“But although the mood appears to be one of confidence, the Chancellor should still be looking to strengthen the stability of businesses in the North.

“Measures such as extending the annual investment allowance, which currently offers tax relief on a wide range of investments up to 250,000 but is due to fall to 25,000 in December, would help firms grow.”

See on Wednesday, March 19, for analysis and expert comment on the Budget from Brewin Dolphin.