According to new research, the confidence levels SMEs have throughout the UK is at its highest since 2015, even with the ever-growing uncertainty businesses have regarding Brexit and what it means for them.
The most recent SME confidence tracker conducted by Bibby Financial Services has highlighted that the number of SMEs who are expecting their sales to grow between April and June has risen by 13% this is compared to the expectations the first three months brought which now shows 50% believe their sales will in fact, grow.
The report found that overall the increase jumped by six basis points from 58 (Q4 2017) to 64 (Q1 2018) which is the highest level since Q2 2015 when the EU Referendum was first mentioned during the Queen’s speech.
CEO of Bibby Financial Services, Edward Winterton comments;
“It is clear that even limited clarity over Brexit – and some compromise on behalf of both the UK and the EU following recent negotiations – has had a calming effect on SMEs,
“This has resulted in a marked increase in confidence, which is long overdue following two years of tumbling confidence and subdued investment.”
Although confidence levels have risen, 43% of SMEs who responded have revealed that the undecided economic environment and the growing level of uncertainty surrounding the exit of the EU is holding their investment back. 36% claimed that they would support calls for the UK to stay.
Amongst the complex issues of Brexit, 27% of SMEs have highlighted their concerns over employment as they struggle to employ someone with the right skillset for their business and 23% said they had to increase wages just to maintain their staff and their skillset.
Winterton continued to say;
“It is vital that UK PLC has clarity on this important issue sooner rather than later to enable investment to start to flow more freely again.
“While it is positive to see confidence return to the backbone of the economy. There are still underlying issues that could impact SMEs future investment and recruitment plans.
“The real learning here is how far a little Brexit progress can go in relation to small business confidence.
“Whatever comes of future Brexit negotiations, for now at least, it seems that SMEs are getting on with business, regardless.”