Brighter outlook on the horizon

THERE S brightness appearing on the recession horizon, according to the Beds, Cambs and Herts region of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). Ten months of FSB data shows small firms are beginning to enjoy an improved outlook. Small businesses which w

THERE'S brightness appearing on the recession horizon, according to the Beds, Cambs and Herts region of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Ten months of FSB data shows small firms are beginning to enjoy an improved outlook.

Small businesses which were hit hard by the worst of the credit crunch and the recession nearly a year ago are starting to experience a tentative recovery, according to analysis by the FSB which has documented the economic downturn's impact on small firms since last September.

A rising number of small businesses are now experiencing an increase in trade, with the latest poll showing 23 per cent of FSB members noticing a rise compared with 16 per cent in February.


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By the end of last year, up to 40 per cent of small businesses had highlighted the cost of finance as a big problem. Now 25 per cent cite the cost of finance as a concern, which indicates that small firms are seeing a very gradual easing.

According to the latest poll, 68 per cent of business owners are looking to act on a rise in confidence and say they plan to grow in the next six months, with firms hoping to invest in new products, more staff and marketing.

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Over half of respondents (57 per cent) said they were "quite confident" about the future prospects of their business. The FSB is urging the

Government to ensure small firms can be at the forefront of tackling unemployment by supporting apprenticeships, short-time working subsidies and increasing the thresholds before income tax and National Insurance contributions are payable, which would benefit employers and employees.

FSB North and East Herts chairman Robin Pyke said: "Small businesses are naturally flexible and innovative in recessions and these figures show that despite the very many negative forces on them, they are being cautiously optimistic and are looking to expand.

"Although we are certainly not out of the woods yet, many small firms are seeing increased footfall and finding it easier to obtain crucial finance than in the winter months, when things were at their worst so far.

"The Government must look to small businesses to build the post recession economy and help them employ more people and ease the bureaucracy and tax burdens which many still face.

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