Small retailers are the least optimistic about the future of their businesses, according to new Small Business Index data released by the FSB.

Overall business confidence amongst small firms is at its lowest since Brexit, with one in eight expecting to downsize, hand over or close their business. Weak consumer spending and demand were listed as the top barriers to growth, leaving consumer-facing businesses such as retail and entertainment worst affected.

Confidence among small retailers has fallen by 20%, with small entertainment companies the only businesses that were less hopeful for the future. There was also a 5% drop across the board in planned investment in small businesses compared to the previous quarter.

The Federation of Small Businesses used the findings to pressure the Government over its upcoming Autumn statement. FSB CEO Mike Cherry said: “Small firms will be looking to the Chancellor to extend a lifeline at the Budget. In such a difficult trading environment, any new tax grabs or loss of reliefs for entrepreneurs would exacerbate existing challenges.”