Confidence among Wales’ small business community has risen in recent months and now stands at a record high, according the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
Manufacturing was the strongest performing sector, after it registered 3.7% growth quarter on quarter.
Small businesses also registered a substantial uptick in employment in Q2 2018 – a net balance of 16.0% of firms increasing employment. The net balance of firms seeing profits rise also returned to positive territory in the latest quarter.
However, despite the buoyancy, export growth tailed off for small firms in Q2 and businesses were faced with recruitment difficulties when looking to expand. In addition, a higher regulatory burden, because of new data privacy laws (GDPR), also looks to be holding back firm growth.
Ben Francis, FSB Wales policy chair, said: ‘It is heartening to see that Welsh firms have remained the most confident of the UK Nations in this survey.
‘It is of concern that new GDPR laws are holding back growth. It’s vital that the Information Commissioner’s Office takes a proportionate approach to enforcing the GDPR. Small firms don’t have big legal teams and that needs to be recognised. Small businesses definitely shouldn’t be fined for honest mistakes.’
‘In Wales our small businesses are resilient and innovative, and we know that smaller firms are looking for new markets to trade with in the wake of Brexit. It is therefore troubling to see that exporting has flat lined this quarter, and we hope to see Welsh and UK Governments taking this into account and prioritising a favourable trading landscape following our exit from the European Union, to match the ambition of our smaller firms.’
Finance broker V4BProfessions, which is based in Wales, provides unsecured business funding to small businesses across the UK. If you’re looking to expand your business contact www.v4bprofessions.co.uk