FSB 'Voice of Small Business' Index - The Scottish index
The FSB's ‘Voice of Small Business' Index has been created using the views of small businesses from the FSB's survey panel. The report is produced by the centre for economic and business research (cebr).
The index looks at capacity levels, employment, revenues and the confidence of small firms. From the third quarter of 2012, the FSB began to produce a Scottish analysis of the results.
Scottish small business confidence is now higher than the UK average, the latest quarterly report shows.
The Index shows that while small business confidence is growing across the UK, an average firm in Scotland is currently more bullish than its counterpart in England and Wales. The analysis also shows that, as spare capacity in small business falls, recruitment intentions are at their highest level since the research began in the first quarter of 2010.
Scottish small business confidence rose to match the UK average, in the first quarter of 2014.
The Index shows Scottish small business confidence rising in the first quarter of 2014 to its highest level since the data series began at the start of 2010. The Scottish confidence index measures +36 points this quarter, up 15 points since the last measurement, and is now slightly higher than the UK average of +35.7 points.
Scottish small businesses were planning to increase their staff numbers and boost capital investment in 2014, the last small business confidence index of 2013 showed.
Our research showed that despite business confidence taking a seasonal dip it remained much higher than it was in the same quarter of the previous three years.
Scottish small businesses were at their most confident in
three years, the third confidence index of 2013 showed. After rising for four successive quarters, Scottish small business confidence was at its highest since the start of 2010 - however the Scottish figure continued to lag behind the UK average.
Confidence reached a three year high and rose in all parts of the UK in the second quarter of 2013. The Index reached +15.9 points which is significantly higher than at the start of 2013.
The FSB's first economic report of 2013 suggested tentative signs of growing optimism among small businesses. Scottish small business confidence rose in the first quarter of 2013 but still lagged behind the UK average.
The last quarterly confidence index of 2012 showed small firms displaying a greater level of confidence compared to the same point in recent years. However, the research suggests that Scottish small businesses' profit margins were squeezed by rising costs and weak trading conditions during the last quarter of 2012.
This report shows Scottish small business confidence falling into negative territory for the first time since the start of 2011. More firms are being refused credit but 50 per cent of firms want to grow in the coming 12 months. Scottish small business confidence continues to lag behind the UK average.