Small business confidence 'lost ground' in final quarter of 2023

23 Jan 2024

Confidence amongst small businesses fell in the last quarter of 2023, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has found.

The FSB said small business confidence 'lost ground' in the final three months of 2023, which assisted in reversing gains made earlier in the year.

Its Small Business Index (SBI) fell to -15.0 points in quarter four of 2023, down from -8.0 points in the third quarter.

'Losing the ground made up in the third quarter in terms of the overall confidence level among small firms should be a wake-up call to the government and to decision-makers,' said Tina McKenzie, Policy Chair at the FSB.

'It's especially disheartening that this slip in confidence happened in the so-called 'golden quarter', which so many hospitality and retail firms in particular rely on to shore up their finances ahead of the new year's belt-tightening.

'With small hospitality firms reporting a big fall in their confidence, there are fears of yet more distress and closures among this sector, so vital to community spirit and our social fabric. The help extended to small firms in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors at the Autumn Statement via an extension of business rates relief is a welcome start, and will mitigate their tax burden later this year, but right now things are tough.'

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