Lancashire based small business groups hails optimism in sector

North West small business confidence has fallen this quarter but remains in positive territory, according to a survey by the Federation of Small Businesses.

Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 4:55 am

The North West Small Business Index, which measures confidence among businesses, fell from the read taken in Q1, 2021. It now stands at 21 per cent in Q2, whereas three months ago confidence was up at 39 per cent.

However, as the last 12 months has been polarising from one quarter to another, sentiment in the region now remains positive in 2021.

Despite a slight fall in business confidence for the next three months (currently at 21 per cent for Q2 2021, falling from 39 per cent at Q1 2021), it does appear the relaxation of regulation continues to be contributing to optimism.

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The FSB's latest study shows confidence is in positive territory

Encouragingly the number of businesses reporting increased profits rose significantly in the last three months (40 per cent) – the last time that small businesses in the region were asked about profit (Q4, 2020) only 21 per cent reported growth.

For the first time since before the pandemic, the number of businesses increasing headcount (23 per cent) is greater than those cutting jobs(12 per cent).

Investment intentions for the North West also remain positive going into Q3, with 37 per cent looking to increase the amount of capital being invested in their business. Investment intentions in the North West are the most positive across the UK.

Paul Wareham, FSB England Policy Unit Representative North West said: “The latest North West results have built on the positive outlook of many small businesses.

Paul Wareham

"This optimism follows a difficult period for many, who have been closed for up to fifteen months, with the majority now open for business.

“Small business confidence remains in positive territory, however that confidence is down on the first quarter results, perhaps indicative of businesses realising that recovery could be a long process for them.”

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