A survey carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has found that confidence amongst small firms has been in negative territory since July 2018.
The FSB's Small Business Index (SBI), which tests small firms' business confidence levels, recently posted a ninth consecutive negative reading.
The SBI, which polled 1,500 UK firms, showed that the confidence figure for the third quarter of 2020 stands at -32.6, down 28 points when compared to the second quarter of 2020.
Just 34% of those surveyed at the end of last month expect their performance to improve over the coming three months, the FSB said. 66% of businesses expect their performance to worsen.
'Short memories are common in a crisis, but we must not forget that small firms were already under the cosh thanks to political uncertainty, rising costs and creaking infrastructure well before the Spring,' said Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the FSB.
'The Chancellor made some very welcome adjustments to support measures . . . , and it's critical that the new Job Support Scheme is straightforward to use, the self-employed can access the help they require and local authority cash grants reach as many of those in need as possible as swiftly as possible.'