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SME confidence up but access to credit down: how?

New figures from the Federation of Small Businesses and Companies House paint a complex picture of the state of the SME sector in the UK. The one thing that is clear is the rising popularity of invoice finance.

The Federation’s recently released Voice of Small Business Index for Q4 2016 shows that business confidence level continued to rise, bouncing back to pre-referendum levels, while Companies House has reported that a record number of new businesses were established in the UK in 2016. However, at the same time, the latest edition of the Voice of Small Business Index has also found that affordability of and access to credit for SMEs has fallen.

The somewhat contradictory findings of these studies underline the uncertainty that is characterising the UK business sector in the aftermath of the decision to leave the EU.

The rise in business confidence and new company numbers has come despite this uncertainty but news that the UK government looks set to pursue the hardest of Brexits may put this optimism to the test. The likelihood that the UK will now leave the single market raises the strong possibility of revenue and talent migration from the country as UK-based businesses with Europe-wide operations and supply chains assess their post-Brexit future. It may also make entrepreneurs think twice about setting up new businesses.

Given the state of the economy and the SME sector, in particular the ongoing problems regarding small business lending, the role of invoice finance and other non-bank finance services, such as asset finance, peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding, looks set to become increasingly important to the generation of growth.

According to the Federation’s research, at the same time as confidence was growing, the number of businesses using invoice finance more than doubled. As the difficult process of Brexit continues, expect this use to grow further.

To find out more about A&T Business Associates services, contact us on 01903 602211 or info@atbusinessassociates.co.uk.

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