Confidence among Britain's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has fallen to near-record lows, with concern over the eurozone and UK economies resulting in less than half of firms admitting they are confident about the future.
According to a study conducted by TNS Research, the period of July to September 2012 saw only 46 per cent of British small businesses saying they are confident, down from 51 per cent in the previous quarter.
Eurozone instability is largely to blame, with 61 per cent of participating importers and exporters admitting it is their number one concern.
The high percentage is understandable given that Europe remains the biggest consumer of goods and services produced by British SMEs, with 47 per cent of those surveyed confessing the slowdown had adversely affected their business.
Gareth Heald, UK Finance Director at Western Union Business Solutions, said: "The constant stream of negative headlines from Europe and the recent IMF downgrade of the UK economy seem to have eaten into what little positivity was out there."
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