Small Businesses Expressing An Optimistic Outlook

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has reported that confidence among UK small businesses is at "an all-time high", with its latest survey results in line with improving economic conditions.

The Small Business Index – the FSB's measure of confidence – climbed to +41 points in the third quarter, which topples the previous record of +39.7 in the previous quarter.

Its regular quarterly survey also uncovered that three-fifths of firms (61%) anticipate further growth in the next 12 months, with one in ten expecting substantial progress.

The North East and South East regions are showing the greatest gains compared to a year ago, recording confidence scores of +44 and +52 respectively. The most confident sector was financial services.

The results represent the seventh consecutive quarter that small businesses have been optimistic about their outlook, which the FSB says underlines the pivotal role small businesses have played in the economic recovery.

The FSB's national chairman, John Allan, said the results are further proof to suggest that small firms "will continue to spearhead the UK's recovery". He called for policy makers to capitalise on the optimism and look for further ways to back the self-employed and small businesses.

The report supports the most recent figures from the Office of National Statistics, which showed that the economy had grown by 3.2% in the second quarter of this year compared to the same period 12 months ago.

It isn't all positive news, however, with the Index revealing that barriers to growth aspirations still exist, in the form of weak consumer demand and a growing skills shortage, with almost a third reporting a lack in the availability of sufficiently skilled workers.