CBI says small business optimism has soared

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The Independent Online

Britain’s small and medium enterprises are now feeling more confident about their business prospects than at any time since April 2007, the Confederation of British Industry said today.

The CBI said that while more SMEs had actually seen demand for their goods fall than rise over the past three months, trading was improvings and businesses were feeling increasingly optimistic.

Of 424 firms surveyed, the business group said that 9 per cent more felt more optimistic about their general situation than felt optimistic, the best figure revealed by the quarterly survey for two-and-a-half years.

“It is good to see that both small and medium-sized firms feel more positive about business prospects than they have for two and a half years, and hope that orders will stabilise in the coming three months,” said Russel Griggs, chairman of the CBI’s SME council.

“However, current conditions remain challenging for many small and medium-sized UK manufacturers, with orders and output still falling, and uncertainty about demand a major concern.”

Mr Griggs said SMEs continued to face two problems in particular. More than ever before were finding it difficult to access credit, which suggests banks are doing less, rather than more, to help the business sector. In addition, demand for goods from overseas has fallen much more sharply than domestic demand in recent months.