Confidence among UK-based small business owners plunged to the lowest level seen since the second Covid-19 lockdown in the final quarter of last year, the Federation of Small Businesses has warned.
The Small Business Index headline confidence figure in the final quarter of 2022 fell to -46 points, down from -36 points in the third quarter and marking the lowest reading since the final quarter of 2020, when it was -49 points.
Small businesses operating in retail or hospitality were among the hardest hit in the final quarter of last year, according to the FSB.
The FSB said: ‘This is particularly troubling during the traditional “golden quarter” for consumer-facing businesses such as shops, bars, and restaurants.’
Worryingly, a growing number of small businesses reported a drop in revenues over the previous three months, and their outlook for the coming months remained similarly downbeat.
Forty-four per cent expect to see a fall in revenues in the coming months, while only 29 per cent expect them to increase.
Hiring levels are also struggling as small businesses battle to keep their costs down, the FSB added.
The proportion of small businesses which saw employee numbers fall outweighed the number of those which gained staff over the previous three months.
Source of data and images: dailymail