SMEs are becoming increasingly nervous about growth, a new survey has revealed.
Bibby Financial Services (BFS) polled more than 1,000 small and medium-sized businesses, and found that just 36 per cent expect to grow during the first quarter of this year, City AM reports. This compares with 46.4 per cent three months ago.
The decline began in early 2014, at which point 64 per cent were confident about their growth.
Late payments, a lack of UK demand for business, and increased competition were among the biggest concerns.
David Postings, chief executive of BFS, said: “SME confidence is plummeting, while investment is only being made if it is essential. Concerns over the uncertain UK economic environment are strengthening, suggesting that SMEs believe the recovery is losing steam.”
This follows a similar report by Lloyd’s Bank last week, which also showed that UK business confidence is in decline.
The biannual Business in Britain report’s confidence index, which averages the sales, orders and profits expectations of the 1,500 respondents, has fallen to 30 per cent, compared with 43 per cent in January and July 2015.
Echoing BFS’s findings, respondents to the Business in Britain survey said that weaker demand in the UK was their greatest threat, with almost a third (31 per cent) of firms citing this as a risk. The number of businesses concerned about overseas demand has also risen from six months ago, from 23 to 25 per cent.