As we move towards a second national lockdown, FSB North West is today making the case for a fresh iteration of business support measures as its new survey of small firms shows confidence has been in negative territory since July 2018. The recommendations come amid signs that the UK’s nascent economic recovery is stalling ahead of a second lockdown and an incredibly difficult trading period in the run-up to Christmas and the end of the transition period.
The North West Small Business Index (NWSBI), which measures confidence amongst businesses, is back in decline in Q3 after showing some signs of improvement in Q2. It currently stands at -37. In the last quarter the reading also stood at +45.
Confidence in business performance is now in negative figures for small businesses in the North West. As Governmental advice in the area moves toward more restrictive practises, there has been a detrimental impact on Small Businesses confidence. Which, considering the substantial bounce back in confidence felt back in Q2, does suggest a reverse in progress.
The uncertainty in confidence witnessed amongst North West small businesses is apparent across the country, with index scores among all regions in negative territory. That being said, North West (-37) small businesses are among the lowest in terms of confidence and lower than the average for England (-33); reported to be lower only in the North East & Yorkshire (-37)West Midlands (-44).Click here to read the full report
FSB Acting Policy Representative Richard Askew said: "The North West Small Business Index (NWSBI) clearly shows how businesses in the North West continue to be negatively impacted by the pandemic. It is clear that the local lockdowns imposed on the Region during the reporting period have taken their toll with sentiment towards revenue and investment some of the lowest in the country.
"At the time of writing we are moving into the second National Lockdown, this will inevitably leave many small firms facing the bleakest winter they have ever seen and the second deep recession in twelve months. We have consistently highlighted that far too many are still excluded from the Government’s efforts to help business owners – not least company directors and the newly self-employed and urgent clarity is needed on how these and all small businesses will be supported as we enter this second lockdown.
"For the longer term Business and Entrepreneurs in the North West have long been challenged to “level-up” the economy, but without support, certainty and confidence such aspirations will be impossible. Securing a swift and positive EU deal is imperative for many small businesses at what has been an extremely difficult time."