SME growth has dropped by 20%, and business confidence is faltering, figures from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) reveal.

Some 75% of SMEs now plan on expanding, down from 94% in April, which could lead to stagnation if this trend continues, according to the ACCA.

Stagnation is also being felt across other areas for SMEs, with only one in ten businesses planning to hire more staff over the next quarter.

A further 7% of SMEs predict they will run out of cash in the next 12 months, raising concerns for their survival.

Glen Collins, head of ACCA, said:

"The decline in SME optimism has clearly had an impact on business investment.

The stark recruitment figures demonstrate the stalling of investment in other lines of business, and this is also filtering down to its people in terms of recruitment and development programmes."

Many businesses are concerned about the end of the super deduction, which will take place next spring, and whether the Government has any further plans to support businesses.

‘Our businesses need some certainty in these uncertain times. Ultimately, employment, training and other investment tax reliefs and capital allowances should extend into the next parliamentary term," Collins added.

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