With small business confidence plunging to its lowest level in eight years, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is urging the Government to deliver on its promises if confidence is to be revived this year.
The FSB said that small firms must be hoping that the adage “the night is darkest before the dawn” holds true, as it revealed that its quarterly measure of members’ confidence was at its lowest ebb since the recession that followed the banking crisis.
However, the Federation’s Small Business Index found little confidence that the new year would bring an improvement, with almost half of the small firms surveyed saying that their performance is likely to worsen over the first three months of 2020. Meanwhile, fewer than one in four expected trade to pick up.
As a spokesman for the business group commented, the incoming Government made some very positive commitments to the small business community, particularly where connectivity, employment costs, business rates and late payments are concerned. However, it now needs to deliver.
Specific areas of interest to the FSB’s members are business rates, the late payment of commercial debts, rising employment costs, the direction of global trade, better connectivity and better infrastructure.
Meanwhile, responding to the announcement that the National Living Wage (NLW) will increase by 6.2 per cent to £8.72, a spokesman for the FSB said that while it is right that everyone is paid fairly, it is also vital that increases in the rate are manageable for small firms and do not put jobs at risk.