The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has revealed that confidence amongst UK small businesses has fallen significantly, with 31% of firms expecting their business performance to worsen over the coming three months.
The FSB’s Small Business Index (SBI) found that confidence amongst small firms fell to -2.5 during the fourth quarter of last year.
According to the SBI, only 27% of businesses expect to see an improvement in their business performance in the next three months.
41% of firms reported a fall in profits, with an additional 14% of business owners revealing that they plan to downsize, close or sell their business over the next three months.
Meanwhile, 73% of small businesses stated that their operating costs have risen when compared to this time last year.
Commenting on the findings, Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the FSB, said: ‘As we progress to stage two of Brexit talks, negotiations with the EU27 are set to continue dominating the political agenda.
‘While the swift agreement of a transitional arrangement and an ambitious free trade agreement with the EU are absolutely critical, it’s spiralling costs, weak growth and flagging consumer demand at home that are front of mind for small firms day to day.’