Small business confidence in Yorkshire and the North…

Small business confidence in Yorkshire and the North East soaring; Are good times round the corner?

The FSB Quarterly Small Business Index (SBI) published today shows small business confidence in Yorkshire, the Humber & North East at its highest level since Spring 2018. It also shows small business owners upbeat about their growth prospects and creating new jobs.

The FSB produce a SBI survey every three months. In it they track how confident business owners are for the next three months. They subtract those not confident from the number who are, to produce an overall confidence figure. The latest figure is +31, the highest it has been for six years, signalling that after many tough years for business we might be seeing some reasons to be cheerful.

FSB’s survey also finds small business revenue growing. Over half (52%) of respondents to the survey expect revenues to grow over the next three months (just 15% think revenues will go down). The survey also says employment is rising; 16% of business owners said they had increased their workforce in the previous three months and 24% expect to do so in the coming quarter.

Other key findings from the FSB research are:

  • Small firms are ambitious. The SBI survey shows 55% of small businesses in Yorkshire, the Humber & North East think they will grow in the next 12 months.
  • Investment is set to rise with 27% of businesses owners looking to increase investment in their business and just 13% reduce it.
  • Barriers to small business growth remain however; the survey suggests the biggest barriers are the general economic conditions in the UK (64%), consumer demand (28%), labour costs (25%) and getting appropriately skilled staff (24%).
  • Fuel cost fears have eased, with just 7% citing it as a barrier.

Simon Williams, FSB Regional Chair for Yorkshire, the Humber and the North East, said, “These are the best findings we have seen from our Small Business Index for years. Small business confidence is up, revenue is up and job creation is up. After a number of really tough years for businesses it seems that we may be on the cusp of better times.

“It is great that business owners in our region are feeling this confident. We have to make sure that this small business confidence and growth is nurtured. Now is the time to support existing businesses, especially in those sectors which have been hardest-hit in recent years such as hospitality. We also need to create the best possible environment for start-ups and entrepreneurs.

“Our survey shows now is the time for politicians to be bold and come forward with ambitious plans. Small businesses are ready to grow the economy, we want to see plans to support small businesses to grow, access finance, take on staff and deliver day-in, day-out for customers and communities across Yorkshire and the North East”.