A report by Hitachi Capital Business Finance (HCBF) has revealed a significant increase in small business confidence since the UK government’s easing of the coronavirus lockdown.

The research found that the proportion of UK small businesses predicting growth has almost doubled in just three months – from 14% to 27% – since HCBF’s last quarterly report.

One of the biggest rises in confidence since lockdown was shown in manufacturing (9% to 30%), while in retail, the percentage of small businesses predicting growth rose from 21% to 27%.

The research also found that smaller, more agile enterprises will be the fastest to adapt to the UK’s re-emergence from lockdown, with small businesses that had been trading for less than five years (35%) and those that employed 10-49 employees (37%) most likely to predict business growth for the next three months (up to 30 September 2020).

Gavin Wraith-Carter, managing director of Hitachi Capital Business Finance, commented: “The latest Hitachi Capital research findings are remarkable for both the scale and the speed of the revival in small business confidence. We knew last quarter that small business confidence would fall as lockdown started and the scale of the fall was a concern, particularly the steep rise in the number of business owners fearing for their survival.

“Many have criticised the government for easing lockdown too quickly, but our new research – just in – shows what an immediate and positive impact it has had on the small business community.

“Whilst bigger businesses are having to adjust and adapt at a slower pace, small business confidence across the UK has bounced back and as the engine room of the British economy, today’s figures can give us confidence that small businesses will lead the nation’s effort to rebuild the economy and secure growth.”

The research was conducted by YouGov among a representative sample of 1,140 small businesses on 15 July 2020, spanning the industry sectors.