Small firms’ confidence soars as the recovery takes hold at last

 
Tim Wallace
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THE RECOVERY means most London firms expect to be able to grow in the next year, while hiring is up across the country as confidence rises, according to two studies.

Small firms in the capital are at their most confident ever, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). Its confidence index shot up to 46 in the third quarter, almost double the 24 seen in the second quarter and the highest ever seen.

A net balance of eight per cent of firms in London are looking to increase their headcount in this quarter, ahead of much of the rest of the country and better than even the fast growing services sector overall.

Incomes are rising in the sector – according to BDO, 74 per cent of small and mid-cap firms expect a rise in turnover. The average growth is set to come in at 12.5 per cent, up from 10.1 per cent three months ago. And 67 per cent are optimistic about the prospects for the UK economy in the coming 12 months, up from eight per cent this time last year.

“The engines of growth are on the move,” said Tim Ward from the Quoted Companies Alliance. “The pickup in the economy appears to be translating into real-economy results, which suggests that those who expected their turnover to fall now expect improvement.”