The Federation of Small Business (FSB) has unveiled its latest survey results, which indicate rising confidence and a desire to grow amongst small firms. More than 3,000 were surveyed, with over half aiming to grow in the 12 months ahead. Considerable optimism about scope for business expansion was being shown by a third of firms, who were looking to increase capital investment plans. Confidence is consequently rising for the first time a year, the FSB reported, but there were still economic hindrances for many. The rising cost of overheads, weak customer demand and concerns over the cost and availability of finance were all said to be continuing issues, as one in five struggles to access finance and 60% suffer from the price of fuel as its major cost driver. John Walker, FSB national chairman, said of the survey results, "It is a testament to the hard work and determination of the UK's small businesses that, in the face of rising costs and falling demand, they are still more confident about the year ahead and are looking to expand. "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”, he added.