Survey reveals drop in business optimism

A survey carried out by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has shown that business confidence has ‘fallen sharply’.

The CBI’s latest SME Trends Survey, which polls small and medium-sized manufacturing firms, revealed that the output and volume of new orders declined in the three months to October 2022, contributing to the drop in optimism.

It also showed that price growth and cost growth eased slightly over the three months to October, but remained ‘exceptionally high by long-term standards’. The survey suggested that businesses anticipate strong rates of cost and price growth over the next three months.

Ben Jones, Lead Economist at the CBI, said: ‘SMEs face continued challenges in the form of skills shortages, high costs and shrinking order books, which are weighing heavily on investment plans.

‘Firms need decisive action from the government to calm markets, help support small businesses through a difficult few months ahead and build confidence in a rapid economic recovery.

‘This should include much-needed reforms to business rates and the Apprenticeship Levy. That will encourage renewed investment and create the flexibility needed to future-proof the UK’s workforce.’

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