November 5, 2020 @ 9:29 by Richard Dawson
Small business confidence in the North East is at its lowest level for two years.
New research released by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) shows that the nascent economic recovery is stalling and that more support is needed to help businesses.
The FSB Small Business Index posted a record ninth consecutive reading showing that a majority of small businesses in the North East are expecting profits to decrease in the next three months.
It also shows that the number of small businesses expecting to invest in the next quarter is significantly down due to economic uncertainty.
25 per cent of smaller business have also cut staffing numbers over the last three months highlighting the challenges facing the North East labour market going into winter.
With the national lockdown coming into force, the FSB is calling on the Government to offer more support to smaller businesses across the North East to help them cope with the challenges.
FSB policy representative Richard Askew said: “Our research clearly highlights the challenges that the North East economy is facing over the next few months.
“Small businesses and the self-employed across the North East are facing the bleakest winter they have ever seen and are nervous about the future of their business.
“There’s no doubting that smaller businesses across the region are being heavily impacted by the pandemic. Our research shows that confidence is at its lowest ebb and investment plans have been put firmly on hold.
“It is vital that the financial support that the Government is offering gets to small businesses and the self-employed as quickly as possible.
“There are those – including company directors, the newly self-employed, start-ups, those without physical premises and those further down supply chains in especially hard-hit sectors – who are struggling to access any meaningful support at all.
“Until these cracks are addressed, our economic recovery is destined to keep faltering.
“Collectively we all need to support our local businesses get through these challenges and support them. Whether it’s buying take-aways, using click and collect or buying vouchers we can all do our bit to support them.”