According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), confidence among smaller enterprises has grown significantly over the past three months. This points, the Federation says, towards strong potential for growth in the small business sector through the remainder of the year.
The growth of confidence among smaller businesses has been described by the prominent lobby group as “robust.” This shift in sentiment was highlighted by data gathered through the latest survey for the FSB’s small business index, which the organisation has been compiling regularly since 2010.
According to the index, investment intentions and growth ambitions are at the highest levels the FSB has seen since the index began five years ago. The survey on which the index is based also identified positive signs in the areas of productivity and job creation.
Small businesses are themselves confident about their immediate futures, with many seeing the next few months as a promising time. More businesses than ever before in the history of the FSB’s small business index – 65.3% or almost two thirds – have ambitions of moderate or rapid growth over the next quarter.
The FSB also said that small businesses were experiencing an increase in productivity ahead of the UK economy as a whole. This, the FSB said, should serve as a positive sign for the government, for which slow rates of productivity growth have been a major concern for quite a while.
The FSB said that it founded only a “few negatives” in the current situation, and overall smaller businesses seem to be well-placed to play their part in economic growth over the remaining months of 2015.
Perhaps most prominent among the few negatives that the group identified is a lack of geographical consistency in the results of the survey. While the big picture is decidedly weighted towards the positive, there is a lot of variation between different reasons. It is in London and the wider South East of England in which smaller enterprises are at their most confident. The Midlands, both East and West, follow. In Scotland, by contrast, businesses have actually grown less confident over the past quarter, and in Wales confidence also declined along with employment.
However, on the whole the FSB remains decidedly positive about the immediate future of Britain’s small businesses. John Allan, national chairman of the FSB said that “The results… are very positive and show the major role that small businesses play in the growth of the UK’s economy.”