Confidence amongst small businesses in the UK has risen to its highest level in more than a year, according to data published by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
The FSB’s Small Business Index (SBI) for the first quarter of 2017 stands at 20.0 – the highest figure since the fourth quarter of 2015, and a significant improvement on the figure of -2.9, which was recorded after the EU referendum. Confidence has risen despite small firms facing ‘spiralling business costs’, the FSB stated.
The rise in confidence has, in part, been caused by an increase in international trade, according to the SBI. A net balance of 15.6% of small businesses reported a rise in export activity, with an additional 30.5% expecting international sales to increase over the next quarter.
Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the FSB, commented: ‘It’s hugely encouraging to see our small businesses trading more overseas, driving an exports-led recovery.
‘We know small firms that export have higher turnovers than those who rely on the domestic market, so it’s crucial that the government maximises cross-border trade opportunities for small firms.
‘That includes negotiating an ambitious free trade agreement with the EU as part of the Brexit process.’