FSB sees slide in small business confidence
By PRW Staff
Posted 19 September 2012
Challenging domestic conditions, poor access to finance and weak consumer demand have dented the optimism of small firms, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
The FSB's ‘Voice of Small Business' index showed small firms' confidence levels tumbled 5.8 points to -4.5 in the third quarter, the fourth lowest score since the start of 2010. While disappointing, it is 20 points higher than in Q4 2011 when the economy fell sharply back into recession, pointing to an economy flat-lining rather than going into reverse.
"It isn't surprising that confidence fell back into negative territory as the recession entered its third quarter,” FSB nation chairman John Walker. “The message is clear though – businesses want to grow and invest but they need a helping hand to do so.
“It is frustrating that bank finance is still difficult to get. No matter what is said about demand, more than 40% of applicants have been refused in each quarter this year. This has to change if growth aspirations are to be met.”
And even amongst those that have considered bank finance there was a strong feeling that it was too costly. According to the FSB more than 60% of firms think that finance is unaffordable – this has increased each quarter in 2012. The federation will therefore be keeping a close eye on the Funding for Lending scheme to make sure that small firms do get cheaper finance through it.
The other principal concern for many small businesses was the size of their energy bills.
Comment on this article.
[ Back ]