Confidence amongst SMEs has dropped and this is likely to result in more staffing culls, according to The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
A survey carried out by the organisation found that six per cent of the 1,600 businesses questioned feel that redundancies are inevitable before the turn of the year.
The news comes at a time when UK unemployment stands at a mammoth 2.57 million.
Ever rising pressures and costs were cited as the reason why SMEs are losing confidence in the stability of the economy.
“It is the first time since we started the index that we have seen more people believe that they’re going to lay off staff than take them on,” explained FSB chairman John Walker.
“This has to show the government that a more robust plan for growth is needed.”
The FSB, a business organisation with more than 200,000 members, has called on the government to help small companies by making a targeted VAT cut as well as offering a National Insurance contributions holiday.