Business confidence is an important part of the economy, especially for small companies where this will play a big part in many of their business decisions. At the moment, business confidence isn’t at a high, especially in certain parts of the country where growth is more difficult to achieve. The Federation of Small Businesses has shown that business confidence in Wales has fallen to its lowest level since the end of last year – not good news.
Challenging domestic markets, access to finance options and slow consumer demands have all taken their toll on businesses across the UK, but these stats show that confidence in Wales has been particularly badly hit. Though many Welsh firms are hoping to expand, business confidence in the region is the lowest in the UK apart from Northern Ireland.
First Minister Carwyn Jones has blamed the low business confidence in Wales on the stagnation of the banks, especially in relation to business lending. The FSB has also backed this up – its research has shown that growth is threatened by an increase in the number of businesses being refused finance. This means that although of the 2,600 respondents to the survey nearly half were looking to grow in the next 12 months, the inability to find finance will impact on businesses’ ability to achieve this.
Janet Jones, Welsh policy chair for the FSB, said “The message is clear – businesses want to grow and invest but they need a helping hand to do so. It is frustrating that bank finance is still difficult to get.” She went on to say that the Welsh government should “play its part” to ensure that funding streams reached those businesses who were most in need.
Of course, there are other funding options out there that can help small businesses to grow. Invoice finance is a flexible way to release funds from unpaid invoices, improving cash flow and giving businesses the breathing room to expand.