Small business group calls for focus on ‘domestic agenda’ in New Year message

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has urged the government to re-focus on encouraging and supporting UK small businesses, rather than spending time on ‘political infighting’, in its New Year message.

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Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, said: ‘Small business owners tend to be an optimistic bunch. They are used to being nimble, adapting to circumstances and making the most of opportunities. They are creative and entrepreneurial.

‘And yet as we head into 2019 small business confidence is on the floor, and desperately needs lifting’.

Highlighting the impact of the recent political turmoil surrounding Brexit, Mr Cherry called on the government to provide clear advice for businesses on how to comply with any new requirements. He stated: ‘Adapting to whatever the new trading circumstances with the EU are will mean changing business procedures, taking valuable time out from running a business, and for many it will involve paying for external expertise’.

The FSB’s New Year message also drew attention to other key issues affecting small businesses, including forthcoming legislative changes such as Making Tax Digital for VAT, the pressure on UK High Streets, and the issue of poor payment practices.

CBI survey reveals public confidence in UK businesses has risen significantly

CBI survey reveals public confidence in UK businesses has risen significantly

A survey carried out by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has revealed a significant rise in the number of people who believe UK businesses have a good reputation.

The CBI’s survey compared public perceptions of UK firms between May and November 2017, and found that two in three individuals believe that UK businesses have a good reputation.

It also suggested that members of the general public are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits businesses bring to their local communities.

The main bulk of positive views on UK businesses were given by people aged between 18 and 34: when compared to previous findings, a 15% rise in positive views amongst 18 to 34-year-olds was recorded.

One of the most significant drivers behind the rise in public confidence was having a sense of pride in British business. The quality of UK firms’ goods and services also helped to boost confidence amongst the public, the survey revealed.

Commenting on the findings, Josh Hardie, Deputy Director General of the CBI, said: ‘CBI members are in no doubt: trust underpins growth. A strong relationship between business, employees and consumers will help to increase standards of living. Trust is built on understanding – the more the public see the benefits business brings, the better the relationship.’


Confidence on the rise but businesses ‘still cautious about hiring’

11 Nov 2013

British businesses are reluctant to increase their staffing  levels in the medium-term, despite recent reports that confidence in the UK  economy is strengthening.

According to a new survey by the Chartered Institute of  Personnel and Development (CIPD), the short-term outlook for jobs is positive,  with the majority of employers planning to take on more staff in the coming  weeks.

Although employer confidence in the three months to October reached  its highest level in the survey’s eight-year history, the CIPD reports that  attitudes to hiring in the medium-term are not so optimistic.

Just 17% of the 1,020 firms questioned said they would  increase staffing levels by more than 2% if economic output reached a similar  figure, while 42% said they would not change their headcount at all.

The CIPD suggests that job prospects are brightest in the manufacturing  and retail sectors, as well as in the south-east of England. But the human  resources body warns that employment could actually fall in the public sector  and the north of the country.

‘Our data on medium-term recruitment intentions suggest that  stronger economic growth in the next few years will not be accompanied by big  rises in employment,’ said Gerwyn Davies, labour market advisor at the CIPD.

‘Instead, many employers tell us they are focused on the  need to raise productivity. The prospects of better economic conditions might  therefore persuade them to invest more in the business and make more intensive  use of existing staff, for example, by increasing working hours.’

The rate of unemployment in the UK currently stands at 7.7%.

The Bank of England has said that it will not raise interest  rates from their all-time low of 0.5% until unemployment falls to 7%.