Here is why
The London Small Business Index (LSBI), which measures confidence amongst businesses, has a reading of +25 which is consistent from the last quarter. This time last year the reading stood at -10.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is urging the Government to make Councils distribute the £300m Business Rates DiscretionaryBusiness Rate Fund available sooner rather than later, as London will receive around £125m.
69 per cent of businesses have seen an overall increase in the cost of running their business operations in the past quarter compared to 9 per cent who have seen a decrease. This has remained steady from the last quarter. The main causes of these business costs increase include Labour costs, the exchange rate, rent, utility costs and inputs into the business.
Sue Terpilowski OBE, London policy chair, said: “Many small firms are still reeling from the business rates revaluation that took effect in April.
“The £300m hardship fund announced at the Spring Budget to help those worst effected offered a glimmer of hope, but is yet to materialise. With the election out of the way, there’s absolutely no excuse for local authority debt collectors chasing small businesses for incorrect, over-inflated bills without the emergency relief applied.
“The communities secretary needs to make distribution of this fund his top priority.”
The latest SBI is characterised by imbalances in confidence between different UK regions and business sectors. The East Midlands (+35), Wales (+31) and London (+25) have the highest regional confidence readings, while Yorkshire (+14), the North West (+9) and Scotland (-4) are among the lowest.
Small firms operating in the information and communication (+43) and manufacturing (+36) industries are some of the most confident this quarter. Meanwhile, consumer facing businesses, such as those in the arts (-4) and retail (-9) sectors, have seen sharp drops in optimism.
Terpilowski added: “Consumer facing businesses are really starting to feel the squeeze. Many small firms that operate in the retail and hospitality sectors depend on EU 27 workers. Ensuring these vital employees have the right to remain needs to be a first port of call once Brexit talks launch.”
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