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Small businesses would rather seek advice from their peers than trust official government economic forecasts, a survey of SMEs has revealed.

According to Axa Business Insurance, almost all – 92 per cent – of the 500 UK business leaders questioned said they never referred to the government’s predictions when making company plans. Fifty-eight per cent said they thought the official projections were simply not relevant – and a third questioned their veracity.

When asked where they turned to for advice, 37 per cent plumped for peer advice online, 29 per cent said they relied on business networks, and 28 per cent said they talked to their accountant.

Darrell Sansom, managing director, direct and partnerships at Axa Business Insurance, said: “The UK’s small business community has long relied on help from a variety of sources to inform their business plans – be they government bodies, trade organisations, industry peers or others. The fact that so many business owners are choosing not to use these sources of data suggests they’re tuning into other channels and finding more accurate information flows elsewhere.”

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.