Manufacturers and engineering companies remain overwhelmingly positive for their prospects over the rest of 2013, a new survey has found. More than 75% are forecasting growth for the year, according to an annual survey by the MHA group, which represents independent financial advisors. A third were even more positive and expected to see double-digit growth by the end of the calendar year. Almost half plans to increase spend on research and development in 2013 by up to 2% of turnover, up from 37% last year. Forecasts from last year’s survey had proven accurate, with 67% saying they had grown last year, which was in line with predictions at this time last year. Allan Underwood, Corporate Manager at SBF, said: “Ambitious SME manufacturers and engineers should look to take advantage of opportunities that are beginning to arise as the economic picture brightens”. “Utilising alternative funding solutions, such as invoice finance, are one way such businesses can solidify their finances and provide that extra cash to help give them the confidence to take on the bigger contracts”, he concluded.