Local SME business confidence plunged to its lowest level

By Anita Jaynes on 1 November, 2022

Small business confidence in the South West has hit a new record low as fears grow about the rising costs facing local businesses. 

The FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) measures business sentiment each quarter and the latest figures show that, aside from the height of the Covid period, positivity amongst SMEs in the South West is at its lowest level since the surveys began in 2014. 

The general economic conditions in the UK and rising utility costs were cited as the two biggest barriers to growth by FSB members and more small business owners also said they are likely to lose staff rather than increase employment in the next three months.

The survey, carried out before the recent change of Prime Minister, was part of a national FSB report which also showed a general waning of SME confidence. However,  the South West figures were the worst across the whole of the UK.

Commenting on the report, FSB South West regional policy representative, Craig Carey-Clinch said, “With so much political and economic turmoil around at the moment it is perhaps no surprise that our businesses are finding it so hard to feel confident. 

“Businesses want stability and the right environment to get on with their jobs and we must hope that those in power realise that many great SMEs are struggling at the moment to stay positive and need support, understanding and sensible pro-business policies to help them get back on track.”

FSB National Chair Martin McTague  said he hoped the report was a wake-up call to politicians to improve business conditions, so more businesses aren’t lost.

“The Government’s own annual figures show that two years of Covid has left the small business population smaller by half a million small firms and the self-employed. This gap of missing entrepreneurs, alongside those that have left the jobs market, should be the focus of medium-term growth measures, to help small businesses start up, grow, and recruit, “ he said. 

The FSB South West report can be downloaded here.

Pictured above: Craig Carey-Clinch, FSB South West regional policy representative