Small business confidence is on the rise following the re-opening of retail in England and Wales, new data from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has found.
According to the FSB’s most recent quarterly Small Business Index (SBI), business confidence has reached its highest level since autumn 2014.
For the first quarter of 2021, the UK SBI confidence measure rose to +27.3, up from -49.3 the previous quarter. This is the highest level since the third quarter of 2014, when it hit +41.0, and it is the first time that the SBI has been in positive territory since the second quarter of 2018.
58 per cent of small business owners told the FSB that they expect their performance to improve over this quarter, with just 31 per cent expecting their performance to worsen.
More than half (51 per cent) said that they expect their revenues to increase over the coming three months, while less than one in four (24 per cent) expect sales to fall.
Furthermore, 53 per cent of business owners intend to grow their firms over the next 12 months – a 22 per cent increase on the same period last year.
“The certainty provided by the government’s road-map is filling many small business owners with renewed confidence,” said the FSB’s national chairman Mike Cherry.
“We live in hope that the virus stays in retreat so the remaining indicative dates for unlocking can be met, enabling our vital night time economies, offices and travel and tourism businesses to get back to it as well.”
Cherry called on policymakers to introduce new measures to encourage hiring and training.
“Bringing down the non-wage costs of employment, starting with employer national insurance contributions, which essentially serve as a jobs tax, would certainly help,” he suggested.