Confidence among small businesses in Britain is at its lowest level since 2013, with sentiment deteriorating the most in London, according to a new survey out today.
The London Small Business Index (LSBI), conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), measured net confidence among London businesses at four for the first quarter, down significantly from a score of 25 in the last quarter of 2015.
The FSB said confidence in the capital was especially exposed to the slowdown in the global economy, with businesses extra concerned about exports. Just 16 per cent of London firms surveyed said they saw the value of their exports increase in the first quarter, compared to 61 per cent who said the same in the fourth quarter of last year.
"The cost of doing business in the capital is stifling small businesses, and we have seen a lag in employment numbers in the capital compared to the UK level," said FSB London policy chairman Sue Terpilowski.
But Terpilowski added that measures announced in Wednesday's Budget, including a cut to business rates, "should help to boost confidence and help small firms to grow and succeed".
"The Budget included a number of important measures to help smaller businesses, particularly changes to business rates which will see many small businesses taken out of paying rates altogether," Terpilowski said. "Delivering on tax simplification measures will be vital – as will be pressing ahead with new investment in much needed infrastructure."