Small business confidence dropping

The latest Small Business Index (SBI), conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), has shown a drop in confidence among small firms, the first decline since the EU referendum.

The SBI showed that business confidence was down to +15 in Q2 2017 from +20 in Q1.

Discussing threats to expansion plans, small firms are most likely to raise the domestic economy, with 52 per cent seeing it is a barrier to growth. Furthermore, 30 per cent flagged consumer demand, 24 per cent labour costs and 17 per cent the tax burden.

Broken down by geography, the East Midlands (+35), Wales (+31) and London (+25) reported the highest regional confidence readings, while Yorkshire (+14), the North West (+9) and Scotland (-4) are among the lowest.

Mike Cherry, FSB national chairman, said: “Small businesses were feeling more pessimistic even before the General Election was called. Now alongside increasing inflationary pressure, a business rates revaluation and rising labour costs, they have a whole new wave of political uncertainty to contend with.

“Clearly this is not the time to revisit failed plans for a national insurance hike on the UK’s 4.8 million self-employed. These strivers are the engine of our economy. In this unforgiving climate, the last thing they need is increased cost. This would act as a disincentive to business creation.

“Many small firms are still reeling from the business rates revaluation that took effect in April. The £300 million hardship fund announced at the Spring Budget to help those worst effected offered a glimmer of hope, but is yet to materialise. With the election out of the way, there’s absolutely no excuse for local authority debt collectors chasing small businesses for incorrect, over-inflated bills without the emergency relief applied. The Communities Secretary needs to make distribution of this fund his top priority.”

Event Diary

London Calling! Register online for The HVAC & Refrigeration Show 2018

Taking place at London’s ExCeL, ecobuild is the number one event for forward thinkers in the built environment, comprising the ecobuild conference and futurebuild districts.

Hotelympia 2018 will equip visitors with products, trends and innovations to develop their businesses.