Small businesses’ confidence in their economic prospects has fallen to the lowest levels in 12 months, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
The FSB’s confidence index fell to a UK-wide score of 1.1 in the third quarter (Q3) of 2017, down from 15.0 last quarter and the lowest result since Q4 2016.
The index recorded -15% for Scotland and -16% for London quarter-on-quarter. Scores for Wales and the East Midlands, meanwhile, jumped by 22% and 30% respectively.
Only 63% of businesses surveyed were successful in their credit application, 2017’s lowest rate yet, down nine points year-on-year.
73% of businesses said they wouldn’t increase capital investment over the next 12 months, up while 13% were planning to downsize or close altogether.
The greatest barrier to growth reported was by far the state of the domestic economy, followed by consumer demand, staff skills, labour costs and regulation.
The FSB’s small business confidence index is calculated quarterly as an average of responses to the question: “How do you view business prospects over the next [quarter], compared with the previous [one]?” on a scale from -2 to +2.