Firms call for action as small business confidence dips again                                                                      

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THE government is being urged to help arrest a continued slump in small business optimism, by the Federation of Small Businesses. 

Data from FSB’s latest quarterly business index shows confidence among smaller firms in the south east fell in Q1 2019 (+1.8), down from +10 in the same period last year.

Nationally, confidence among smaller firms fell to -5.0 this quarter, down from +6.0 in Q1 2018. This marks the third consecutive negative reading.

FSB has written to the chancellor urging him to deliver on last year’s promise to tackle the UK’s late payment crisis and to commit to a one-year ‘safe harbour’ approach to Making Tax Digital-related fines and to give business rates relief for childcare providers

FSB manager for Hampshire, Nicola Bailey, said: ‘These findings must serve as a wake-up call. We small business owners tend to be an optimistic bunch. The persistence of this current wave of pessimism is unheard of. Even in the wake of the crash, when the economy was well and truly on the ropes, we didn’t see negativity take hold like it has now.’