London small business confidence booming but UK north-south divide becomes apparent

 
Chris Papadopoullos
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Real estate firms are among the companies that have seen a decline in confidence (Source: Getty)

London’s small businesses are in a buoyant mood and are expecting a strong start to 2016, new survey figures published today reveal.

In the fourth quarter of 2015, the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) gauge of confidence – compiled from a survey of 144 London firms – climbed to a score of 25 points from eight, its highest since early 2015. The increase in confidence was attributed to a steep rise in profits.

Gross profit was up at 47 per cent of surveyed firms, while 21 per cent said it had fallen. The difference of 26 percentage points is a jump on the 10 percentage point difference recorded three months ago.

The capital’s most optimistic small business were in professional business services and information and communication. Transport and storage firms and real estate firms were less confident than three months ago.

While small business confidence rose in London and the south east, smaller firms in the north east, Yorkshire, Scotland and Wales have all shown a year-on-year decline in confidence.

“A clear divide in confidence is now emerging across different parts of the UK, with businesses in the south and in sectors like technology and professional services feeling more positive about 2016,” said the FSB.