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Posted Tuesday 16th November 2010

Is there any rest bite in store for small business owners in the UK? According to two recent news stories in the press over the last few days, the answer looks to be a most definite “we haven’t the foggiest”.

Hopes were raised within the small business world with the Evening Standard reporting that entrepreneurs in London seem to be finding their feet once again as office space take up levels amongst start-ups and SME’s are steadily on the rise – a sure sign that confidence levels and market conditions are improving.

However, the good time feeling was short lived with the Daily Mail reporting that many smaller companies are still relying on overdrafts and credit cards to keep them afloat due to the scarcity of bank loans. The findings, from a poll of 160,000 business customers on online auction giant eBay, showed 60% of respondents blame the banks for their inability to invest and grow with the UK’s four biggest banks – HSBC, Barclays, Santander and Lloyds – coming in for the biggest criticism.

The levels of anxiety and uncertainty shown in these two snippets of news also reflect the findings from our own Annual Business Confidence Survey which asked for our client’s views on the future for the economy. A quick look at the results shows high levels of pessimism across the length and breadth of the Abbey network.

It seems then that uncertainty is the only certainty for small business owners at the moment.

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