Business turnover reaches two-year high

Despite a challenging start to the year, the Index for the first quarter of 2010 ended on a high of 108.1 – a level not seen since October 2007.

However, despite positive GDP figures, talk of recovery and other signs of green shoots, almost two thirds (62%) of businesses surveyed do not anticipate real economic improvement for at least a year.

A change in Government (25%) and the loosening of lending criteria (25%) are cited as the two biggest factors that businesses think could stimulate a faster recovery, states the report.

The Index analysed quarterly movements in small business turnover together with qualitative opinion from small business owners. It also revealed:

• A quarter (27 per cent) of business owners feel hopeful for the future, with an additional 10 per cent doing well, having actually benefited from the recession.

• Almost a third feel the UK economy will have fully recovered by the end of 2010.

• However, while sentiment from almost half (47%) of business owners implies that conditions are beginning to stabilise, a quarter (26%) feel trading conditions have worsened.

The Index findings are supported by views from the CBI and the British Chamber of Commerce, both of which have forecasted growth of just 1% by the end of 2010, indicating that, while things may have taken a turn for the better, the economy is likely to remain sluggish throughout the course of the year.