Confidence rising for small businesses, study finds

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Small firms are reporting an increase in confidence despite seeing profits hit by higher fuel costs and the falling pound.

A study by the Federation of Small Businesses found confidence had "bounced back" to levels seen before last year's EU referendum campaign.

A survey of more than 1,000 FSB members showed that more felt confident about their prospects than were pessimistic.

Chairman Mike Cherry said: "We are delighted to see confidence bounce back at the end of 2016, effectively wiping out the fall we saw over the course of the year in the run-up to the EU referendum and its immediate fallout.

"The current economic outlook seems brighter, and UK small businesses are ambitious and want to make the most of it.

"Small exporters continue their strong rise, as UK goods and services become more competitive overseas and small businesses go out to find new markets and new customers."