On the back of recent news that Germany’s small businesses are among the most confident small businesses despite the uncertainty engendered by Brexit, the latest CBI Quarterly SME trends survey has shown that UK SME manufacturers aren’t far behind.
The survey of 423 firms reported that total new orders edged up slightly in the three months to October, while output rose modestly. In addition, 25% of small & medium sized enterprise (SME) manufacturers said they were more optimistic, while 21% said they were less optimistic, giving a balance of +4%.
Meanwhile, 30% said their volume of output was up, and 21% said it was down, giving a rounded balance of +10%. And finally, 30% said their total new orders were up, while 26% said they were down, giving a balance of +4%. Firms expect a strengthening in orders growth next quarter (+13%).
Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, said: “Smaller manufacturers are increasingly confident about their export prospects in the months ahead as they continue to reap benefits from the weaker Pound. But this is also leading to a rise in costs at home.
“While investment intentions have improved, uncertainty among businesses remains high, and so the Government must prioritise measures to ensure that firms keep investing ahead, like removing new plant and machinery spending from business rate calculations.
“Setting the right environment for firms to innovate must be at the heart of the Autumn Statement, so the Government should commit to a long-term target for R&D spending of 3% of GDP, getting behind Innovate UK and our catapult centres.”