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Sustained recovery is continuing for small firms, says FSB

That is the finding of the latest Federation of Small Businesses’ Small Business Index. It marks the third consecutive quarter of job creation in small firms and provides yet more signs that confidence is returning and that momentum behind economic growth is being maintained.

The survey of almost 3,000 businesses nationwide shows 15% wish to take on more people in the coming quarter and 11% have increased staff in the previous three months.

Charles Smith (pictured), chairman of the FSB’s Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire region, said: “Once again we see confidence on the up and small businesses are leading the way in job creation.

"There is no doubt they are pushing us further towards economic prosperity and it’s so important to retain this momentum.”

The report also reveals a marked improvement in the number of businesses accessing finance, with more businesses approved for applications.

A FSB spokesman said that, while the environment remains challenging, it is a welcome sign that credit conditions are easing. 

However the survey reveals that the perception persists among businesses that credit availability and affordability is poor, meaning more needs to be done to restore confidence in the banks. 

Mr Smith said: “I believe there is more to be done including helping long-term unemployed young people back to work and boosting wages for the low-paid as the economy continues to improve.

“With more businesses planning to invest, this can only be good news for the economy.”

Other key findings
  • Confidence rose to 35.7, breaking the record score of 33.5 in Q3 2013.
  • Almost two thirds of small firms expect to grow in the next 12 months, and one in four plan to increase the amount they invest in their business.
  • 25% of firms expect to see an increase in export activity in the coming three months and 10 per cent report growth since Q4 2013.
  • More firms expect to see increases to profitability and turnover in the coming three months. 

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