Highest faith in economic recovery since poll began

Confidence in the economy has turned a corner, according to a poll commissioned by Zurich.

Some 56% of the 645 SME decision-makers surveyed by YouGov said they were confident the economy would improve in the next year, compared with 37% who felt that way last year.

Concern among SMEs over the current economic climate is down from 84% in October 2012 to 68% in October 2013.

More than one-third of SMEs grew in the third quarter, the poll found.

The top concerns of those polled included domestic competition, increased regulatory requirements and workforce challenges such as key staff dependency.

Richard Coleman, Zurich’s director of SME, said: “British SMEs are back on the path to growth. With high levels of optimism for the economy over the next year, this is certainly a much brighter picture than the one we faced last year when our SME Risk Index was first launched.

“The focus should now be ensuring that the business environment out there for British SMEs remains as stable as possible, to provide a solid base upon which businesses can invest and flourish.”