Almost half of the respondents in the firm’s latest study of small and medium-sized businesses claimed to be indifferent about the prospects for businesses in their sector in 2005.
KPMG said this represented a ‘major turnaround’ from nine months ago when 67% of SMEs thought that business prospects were good, compared with only 24% who were indifferent.
Some 20% of respondents called for reduced interest rates, while 72% felt rates should be held. The firm said that this figured represented a ‘significant’ increase in the number of businesses beginning to once again see interest rates as a major factor.
Mel Egglenton, head of middle market at KPMG, said: ‘the first seeds of doubt are definitely starting to appear, with more and more businesses registering concerns over the economy.
‘This is evidenced by the fact that 45% of respondents feel that the UK economy is either at the bottom of the cycle or at least on a downward curve. When you consider that this has risen from 23% just six months ago, you have an idea of how quickly perceptions have changed.’
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