Small Business Growth Expectations Drop to Lowest Levels Since Early 2014
Business owners are holding fire on investment decisions due to UK’s “uncertain” economic environment
Only 46% of small businesses in the UK are expecting their business to grow during the final quarter of 2014, according to Bibby Financial Services’ small and medium-sized enterprise Confidence Tracker.
The quarterly survey of over 1,000 UK small businesses found that the number of businesses predicting a decline in sales had reached the highest level yet seen since the tracker began in early 2014.
Under half of the business owners surveyed (46%) said they were holding off making future investment decisions, with one in five (21%) claiming this was due to continuing uncertainty over the UK economy. 57% said they were not planning on hiring any new staff over the next three months.
Of the businesses planning to invest, most were focused on staying ahead of the competition and replacing old equipment and machinery, rather than having any significant growth ambitions.
David Postings, global chief executive of Bibby Financial Services, commented:
“UK small businesses are sensing dark clouds on the economic horizon, which is translating into dampened expectations for growth in the final months of 2015.
“It seems that even our smallest businesses are taking fright in response to gloomy indications from both the Bank of England and the International Monetary Fund.
“With the distinct possibility of another recession in 2016, small businesses need support and stability. The urgent appointment of the Small Business Commissioner to tackle the issue of late payment would significantly help our small business owners to weather the storm.”