More than one in seven UK private businesses are looking to reduce supplier costs over the coming year, according to figures from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In a survey conducted to coincide with the Budget speech earlier this month, PwC found the biggest factor preventing companies from investing in their future is economic uncertainty.

This is followed by concerns about costs, and access to funding – two issues that arguably amount to the same thing in real terms.

Within those cost concerns, 28% rank business charges and taxation as the main obstacle; 22% are most worried about the cost associated with their human workforce; 15% list supplier costs at the top of their list; and 14% cite business energy charges as their primary problem.

Suzi Woolfson, leader of PwC’s private business practice, says: “The picture in many areas and sectors is one of encouraging signs but continued challenge as UK businesses seek to recover from the economic knocks of recent years.”

One way UK businesses could look to reduce supplier costs is through global sourcing of manufacturing components and precision-worked machinery.

Global sourcing allows you to access expertise overseas that might not be available in the UK – often at a highly competitive price.