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Small firms predict 2015 growth

Almost two thirds of small businesses are predicting business growth in 2015, according to a survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The FSB members' survey found that 62% of respondents are optimistic that their business will grow over the next 12 months.

The Q4 2014 survey of almost 1,800 small firms found that:

  • productivity grew 1.1% compared to Q4 2013
  • 16% took on more staff while 11% reduced staff numbers
  • businesses in the IT sector are most confident
  • firms based in London, the West Midlands and Eastern England grew most in confidence compared to the same period last year.

However, barriers to growth remain:

  • 22% of respondents said the cost of borrowing makes it harder to expand
  • 11% of firms with zero employees said they find accessing credit affordable
  • this compares to 44% of medium-sized businesses with more than 50 staff.

John Allan, national chairman of the FSB, said:

"All the signs show that as we head into the New Year small businesses are expecting to grow and take on new staff. But to achieve these positive ambitions small firms will need certainty in the domestic economy including interest rates."

A recent survey conducted by the British Business Bank also revealed optimism among small firms for the year ahead.

The poll of more than 1,000 firms found that 46% expect their business to grow over the next 12 months.

Keith Morgan, chief executive of the British Business Bank, said:

"It is clear from our research that there is increasing confidence among UK small businesses and an appetite for growth. The challenge now is to connect the emerging demand for finance with the new forms of funding that are becoming available."

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