Light at the end of the tunnel for small businesses

TEN months of data at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Herts and Beds show businesses are beginning to enjoy an improved outlook. The good news, says the FBS, shows that a number of small businesses believe they are seeing signs of a recovery i

TEN months of data at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Herts and Beds show businesses are beginning to enjoy an improved outlook.

The good news, says the FBS, shows that a number of small businesses believe they are seeing signs of a recovery in tangible ways such as increased footfall in shops and a relaxation on finance concerns.

"No doubt there is a long way to go but it seems that optimism is not dead," said an FSB spokesman.

Small businesses which were hit hard by the credit crunch and 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 firms since last September.


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A comparison of FSB data collected over the past 10 months suggests that the economic position of small businesses is starting to improve since a low point at the end of last year.

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 to 16 per cent in February.

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

According to the FSB's 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.

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 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.

"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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