Confidence among UK SMEs falls to eight-year low

09 Jan 2020

The latest Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Small Business Index (SBI) for the fourth quarter of 2019 (Q4) has been released, revealing that business confidence is at its lowest level since the UK entered a double dip recession in 2011.

Weighing on the minds of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) is the future direction of global trade and rising employment costs continue to weigh on sentiment.

The confidence measure stands at -21.6 in Q4, an unprecedented sixth straight negative reading. 46 per cent of SMEs expect their performance to worsen over the coming three months and just 24 per cent expect to see any improvement in their performance.

The retail sector is particularly pessimistic, with 66 per cent of SMEs expecting prospects to worsen next quarter.

Optimism among exporters is also in short supply, with a mere 23 per cent expecting international sales to increase next quarter, while 32 per cent expect them to drop. These figures are at a five-year low and high respectively.  

FSB Director of External Affairs and Advocacy Craig Beaumont says: “The small business community has been stifled by uncertainty for more than three years. This quarter, the added uncertainty that accompanies a general election made it even harder for small firms to plan, hire and increase profits. 

“They say that the night is darkest before the dawn, and small firms will be hoping that the old adage holds true. The incoming government has made some very positive commitments to the small business community – particularly where connectivity, employment costs, business rates and late payments are concerned – it now needs to deliver.

"We must secure a pro-business future trading arrangement with the EU, one that protects the three t’s: trade, talent and transition."

At Beavis Morgan, we have extensive experience of providing specialist advice and planning to SME businesses. We work with our clients to put processes in place to make it easier to run your business and maintain effective management of your company’s working capital. We also assist with management accounts, enabling better control of your financial situation and awareness of the business in real time, enhancing planning for the peaks and troughs.
 
We are on hand to assist you to remain profitable and increase your net worth.
 
Contact Steve Govey or your usual Beavis Morgan Partner for further information about how we can assist you and your business.