Belfast Telegraph

Confidence among small Northern Ireland businesses on the up, says FSB

By Andrew Madden

Confidence among small firms in Northern Ireland is rebounding but certainty is still needed on the future of the border, it's been claimed.

A survey from the Federation of Small Businesses found small businesses in the UK as a whole were feeling more buoyant, with a "positive" Spring Statement and lower inflation also helping the mood.

FSB policy chair Tina McKenzie said that with SMEs here employing more people than all larger businesses and the entire public sector combined, it was "vital" they are confident.

But she said that despite an improvement in mood among SMEs, there were still worries.

"The absence of a practical agreement regarding the border is of concern," she said.

"However, there is clearly a strong political will on all sides to avoid a border which would inhibit trade and the daily crossing of people, and we hope agreement will be reached soon."

The FSB's latest Small Business Index (SBI) shows that more than seven in 10 firms expect their performance will either improve (32%) or remain the same (40%) over the next three months.

Ms McKenzie added: "The Brexit transition deal agreed by the UK and EU27 will bring a sigh of relief to small businesses, who will not have to face a cliff edge come March 2019 and will only have to adjust to one set of changes."

Belfast Telegraph

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