According to a survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) confidence among small companies continues to improve.
This is despite a number of concerning risks hanging over the economy, including the looming prospect of Scottish independence and the on-going Ukraine-Russia crisis.
Its regular quarterly survey showed three-fifths of firms expect to grow in the next 12 months.
All sectors reported they had a positive outlook for the seventh quarter in a row.
Although the South East was most positive overall, North East England reported the most improved attitude.
Small firms also report good news on turnover, profits and job creation.
One third of businesses that were surveyed expect their turnover to grow in the next quarter and almost a fifth expect profits to rise.
In addition to this, job creation is strong with small firms’ hiring intentions at an all-time high. A net balance of small businesses (+5%) increased headcounts this quarter, a trend that looks set to continue in the next quarter.
The FSB underlined that this buoyant confidence seen in small businesses depends on pro-enterprise policies that will enable small businesses to grow, create jobs and pay their staff more.
The latest results show that barriers to these growth aspirations do still exist. Weak consumer demand, the domestic economic and growing skills shortages especially in growth sectors such as IT are key issues that must be addressed.
National Chairman of FSB, John Allan comments on the findings: “We’re seeing record breaking confidence from our members which suggests small firms will continue to spearhead the UK’s recovery. We want policy makers to lock in this optimism and continue to back the self-employed and small businesses.”