Small businesses still pessimistic

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“THINGS are going to get worse before they get better,” is the message from Neil Sharpley, a spokesman for the East Lindsey Branch of the Federation of Small Businesses.

Confidence among small businesses in the district plummeted in 2011 as they were hit by high inflation, rising utilities bills and reduced consumer spending power, according to the latest findings from the FSB’s ‘Voice of Small Business’ Index.

The Index, comprising of 1,600 responses from businesses across the UK, recorded a score of -24.5 – the lowest level since the Index started in 2010 and is a fall of some 15.2 points over the quarter.

Given that economic recovery is relying on business investment to create jobs and support the recovery, the ongoing weak sentiment is worrying.

And, with one in eight (12.6 per cent) firms expecting a worsening economic situation in the coming three months, the FSB is calling on the Government to act on policies and initiatives already announced to help boost small business confidence so that they can invest and grow.

On a more positive note, Mr Sharpley added: “We are hopeful that as the inflationary pressures lessen in 2012, that businesses will become more confident.

“There are some good policy proposals in the pipeline too. However, the Government needs to quickly put in place the actions that it has promised.

“Small firms have heard what the Government has to say but are still waiting to see implementation.”

“We believe that must be the Government’s priority: to make 2012 the year of doing, with the aim of creating a dynamic business landscape in which our entrepreneurs can grow and flourish.”