Small firms across Yorkshire are feeling more confident but face spiralling business costs, according to the latest Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Small Business Index (SBI).
The index, which reflects expected performance for the next three months, stands at 33 in the region in Q1 2017, up from 22 in the previous quarter.
The recovery has been spurred by increased international trade. Almost all (92%) exporters surveyed in the region state that international sales have been steady or increased in Q1. A similar proportion (88%) expect this trend to continue over the coming three months.
The recovery in confidence comes despite a surge in the cost of doing business. The majority (62%) of small firms across the region report a rise in operating costs over the past quarter.
However, the region’s firms remain optimistic about hiring new staff. Almost all (89%) small firms surveyed in Yorkshire expect to maintain or increase their headcounts over the next quarter. Simon Williams – Regional Chairman said:
“It’s hugely encouraging to see our small businesses trading more overseas, driving an exports-led recovery. We know that small firms that export have higher turnovers than those who rely on the domestic market, so it’s crucial that the Government maximises cross-border trade opportunities for small firms. That includes negotiating an ambitious free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU as part of the Brexit process. “