Business confidence amongst small and medium-sized firms has fallen to its lowest level since 2013, according to a Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) survey.
Businesses’ prospects for the upcoming three months were measured within the FSB’s quarterly Small Business Index (SBI), which surveys 1,500 small UK firms. This analysis, which was carried out before the 2016 Budget, produced a reading of 8.6 – its lowest level in three years.
Many significant changes that are facing small businesses, including the introduction of a new National Living Wage (NLW), the implementation of pensions auto-enrolment and Government plans to initiate compulsory quarterly digital tax reporting have been listed as factors that have contributed to the dip in businesses’ confidence.
Additionally, the Federation divulged that many firms harbour concerns over the strength of the UK and global economy. These worries have also contributed to the fall in confidence.
The survey also revealed that the fall is most notable within London and the East of England. Overall, Scotland and Northern Ireland have the least amounts of confidence.
However, all regions of the UK have experienced declines in confidence levels.
The FSB has welcomed recent measures for small businesses announced in the Budget. Commenting on the survey, Sandra Dexter, national vice chairman of the FSB, stated: ‘We need a renewed push for growth and productivity, with policymakers delivering a sustained package of support for ambitious small firms’.