Business confidence bouncing back in 2012

UK businesses are still struggling to access business finance

Business confidence amongst small businesses is on the increase again in 2012, despite continuing issues with rising overheads and access to finance.

The Federation of Small Business’ (FSB) ‘Voice of Small Business’ Index of 3000 members shows business confidence improve from -24.5 in Q4 2011 to +2.2 in Q1 2012.

This was the first rise in confidence for a year, as more than half of businesses surveyed planned to grow in the next 12 months.

But threats were also highlighted, with concerns raised about the rising price of overheads, weak customer demand and concerns of cost and availability of external finance. In fact, two in three consider the domestic economy to be a major hurdle to meeting aspirations, with fuel prices a major cost driver for more than 60%.

One in five cites access to finance as a barrier to growth and 41% of loan applicants were refused bank credit.

FSB national chairman John Walker felt the hard work and determination of small businesses to grow in the face of adversity was a major factor in the rising confidence, but also felt more needed to be done by the government, “The government must bolster this confidence by doing everything in its power to remove the barriers to growth which our members have highlighted. That means taking action against rising energy and regulatory costs.”

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