Confidence among Yorkshire’s small firms has rocketed over the past two years, according to new findings today.

Research from insurance giant Aviva shows that more than half of the region’s SMEs are predicting strong growth over the next six months, compared with 22 per cent when the company’s previous SME Pulse survey of 500 companies was conducted in 2012.

Sixty six per cent of regional respondents said trading conditions in 2013 were largely as they expected, with 34 per cent saying they had been tougher than expected - a lower level than in 2012.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement this week that the Coalition was on track to slash red tape and business regulation, will meet the demands of many companies, 30 per cent of which put cutting taxes and red tape as a key priority, with a quarter urging fewer human resources regulations.

Robert Ledger, Aviva head of small business, said: “The increased optimism we are seeing is great news for the economy with more than half of the SMEs surveyed in Yorkshire and Humberside telling us they predict strong or improved growth in 2014.

"This supports PwC reports that the UK will remain the fastest growing major European economy in 2014.

“Our survey results also suggest SMEs on the whole are interpreting market conditions better with almost two thirds saying trading conditions in 2013 were largely as they expected them to be.

"Business acumen is really important in judging when to be prudent and when to take opportunities to grow.”