Studies reveal fall in SME confidence

A new survey carried out by Lloyds Bank has suggested that the confidence levels of Britain’s Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are falling, after it found that a large proportion of SMEs held back on investment plans this summer.

The news comes after the bank’s overall business confidence index fell to a four-year low in July, when it sat at just 12 per cent, comparable with 38 per cent back in January.

Tim Hinton, managing director of SME banking at Lloyds, said: “The EU Referendum vote has introduced a level of uncertainty for companies as the UK decides on the best model for its future relationship with the EU, and this is likely to continue for the foreseeable future”.

A separate study has also suggested that SME confidence is shrinking. 71 per cent of SMEs told a September survey that they feel that they are treated unfairly by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in comparison with their larger, corporate counterparts.

According to reports, almost three quarters of SMEs believe that larger firms and corporate multinationals ‘get a better deal’ from the Revenue – an opinion perhaps exacerbated by ongoing news reports of so-called ‘sweetheart deals’ struck between tax authorities and large corporations in recent months.