A record number of small business owners are planning to close their firms over this year, putting the UK on course to lose more than a quarter of a million businesses.
The quarterly Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Small Business Index (SBI), carried out among 1,401 small businesses across the UK in December, found that just under 5% expect to close this year.
However, the figure does not reflect the threat of closure faced by those hoping to survive, despite having frozen their operations, reduced headcounts or taken on significant debt.
The proportion is at an all-time high for the SBI – which launched in the wake of the financial crash – and is more than double that recorded at the same point 12 months ago.
The UK SBI confidence measure stands at -49.3, down 27 points year-on-year. The reading is the second-lowest in SBI history, second only to that