Economic confidence among small firms falters

Not great news this week on the small business front in the UK with a survey from the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) showing a dramatic fall in confidence in the economy among small firms.

The research targeted around 1,600 members of the Federation of Small Business in mid-September and revealed the largest increase in firms expecting to lay off staff since early 2010. A balance of 5.8% of small firms intend to lay off workers over the next three months, according to the CEBR survey.

Charles Davis, economist at CEBR, told the Daily Telegraph that: “Companies relying on discretionary expenditure are especially negative, with the leisure, sports and entertainment and hospitality sectors showing the largest drops in confidence of any”.

Optimism has also slumped in the manufacturing sector, with as many now concerned about the future as optimistic, down from a positive balance of 23 in the second quarter. Perhaps most provocative for the government was that almost 80pc of the businesses reported cost rises relating to utility bills, raw materials, labour and rents compared with a year ago, with a third reporting the increases were “significant”.

At Wanobe we believe this survey further highlights the need for the government to pay greater attention to the unsung heroes of the marketplace, the men and women running the UK’s 4.5 million or so micro businesses (employing fewer than ten people). Wanobe’s call for a special Micro Business Owners Day has already won the backing of The British Womans Network and the Forum of Private Business, which provides comprehensive business advice, protection and reassurance to small businesses.

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About Wanobe, the business knowledge network
Writer, journalist and broadcaster, sixty-something David likes nothing better than being with family and friends, eating out and drinking great wines, and scuba diving.

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