Small business confidence surges to four-year high

 
Guy Bentley
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Small business confidence in the UK has climbed to a four-year high, according to the annual Sage Business Index.

The annual survey of almost 14,000 businesses in 18 countries showed the majority expecting significant growth over the next year. However, the good news is not confined to the UK, with businesses across the globe more optimistic than pessimistic. Scores climbed over 50 for all three areas surveyed.

UK businesses were increasingly bullish when it came to their prospects recording a score of 66.29, an increase of 3.74. Turning to the national stage, confidence in the UK economy jumped 7.81 to 61.76, leading French colleagues by 26.69 points.

The survey showed 63 per cent of businesses expect turnover to grow next year by 3.5 per cent on average while 47 per cent believe they will increase their number of employees. Only six per cent believe they will lose workers.

The most upbeat businesses were those who also do business outside the domestic market. The last year was a good one for exporters with 39 per cent enjoying an increase in their exports, with only 10 per cent suffering a decline.

Businesses were also optimistic when it came to the global economy, recording a score of 55.90, 4.22 points above the global average.

The European picture is mixed, with businesses in Ireland and Spain being the most optimistic. Austria, Spain and Portugal all scored below 50. France was, perhaps unsurprisingly, the most pessimistic with a score of just 44.08 points.

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