After what felt like a lot longer than the six weeks it actually was, the UK General Election final drew to a close yesterday evening. In that time, a lot has been written about whether small businesses would suffer or be affected by the political uncertainty that gripped the country.
As it turned out, small businesses themselves were not as perturbed by the uncertainty as everyone around them was. Two thirds of small businesses believed that whatever the outcome of the election, it would not affect the success of their businesses.
This sentiment is reflected in a survey carried out in the week running up to the election when the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) surveyed 426 small businesses about the last quarter. On the whole, the report presents a stable environment for businesses. 27 per cent of businesses said their output volume was; 22 per cent said it was down presenting a rounded 5 per cent balance. 32 per cent said their domestic orders were up whilst 24 per cent said they were down, giving a 7 per cent balance.
“Smaller manufacturers are reporting solid increases in output, orders and jobs. While growth was a little slower this quarter, they expect a pick-up in activity in the next three months,” said Katja Hall, CBI Deputy Director-General
29 per cent of small manufacturers are employing more people than three months ago; 12 per cent are employing less, giving a 17 per cent balance.
If the present is stable then the future looks bright. Compared to last quarter, 13 per cent more of SMEs expect company growth to pick up. 15 per cent more of SMEs believe they will experience an increase in domestic orders.
However, SMEs are 5 per cent less positive when it comes to exports.
“Prospects for exporting to the rest of Europe remain a concern. Sterling’s recent rises against the Euro may mean more money in the back-pocket of holidaymakers, but it makes it that bit tougher for British manufacturers to stay competitive and sell inside the Eurozone,” continued Katja Hall