SMALL firms across the county are hiring new staff at their fastest rate for 25 years, according to a survey.

UE Coffee Roasters, which supplies coffee and tea to Number 10 Downing Street, celebrity chef Rick Stein, and hotels and restaurants, has gone from eight to 11 employees in the past 12 months and plans to take on four more.

One of the new recruits is Barbora Krajcovicova, who joined the Witney-based company as a barista trainer this week. The 23-year-old from Kidlington ditched her job with a national coffee chain to join the smaller firm, where she will pass on the secret of a perfect latte to its 300-plus trade customers.

She said: “I prefer working for a small business as I can be more creative.”

Dominic Boyett, co-founder and director of UE Coffee, which has a £1.2m turnover and includes the Jericho & Jeeves brand, believes it is small firms’ flexibility that gives them the edge.

He said: “Because we are so adaptable it allows us to find niches in the market place, while big multi-nationals are not as flexible. We can be more pro-active in going out there to seek opportunities.”

The findings by the Institute of Chartered Accountants and CBI are echoed by the Federation of Small Businesses, which revealed firms are five times more likely to be recruiting now than earlier this year.

Small businesses are defined as those with fewer than 50 employees.

Two other firms creating jobs are The Granite House in Bicester, and The StudyBed Company in Thame.

Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone's contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.

Latest Business news: