Edinburgh tops Scots SME health index

CYBG's SME health check showed Edinburgh as the fifth highest UK city in the final quarter of 2018. Picture: Jon Savage
CYBG's SME health check showed Edinburgh as the fifth highest UK city in the final quarter of 2018. Picture: Jon Savage
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Edinburgh has emerged as the strongest performing Scottish city in a report tracking the health of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

A new report from CYBG revealed that the Scottish capital posted the fifth highest reading among UK cities in the final quarter of 2018, helped on by strong employment figures.

However, a relatively slow rate of growth in its SME population held Edinburgh to an index score of 63.1.

Glasgow placed mid-table in 12th spot with 54.4, scoring highly on its potential to attract skilled, young workers.

Aberdeen finished in 14th place with 53.6, which the study attributed to a price drop in the city’s key energy sector at the end of 2018.

At a national level the report, which tracks seven indicators of SME health, recorded a UK-wide increase to 54.9, the highest level in six quarters.

In Scotland, however, the overall index dropped 1.2 points to 42.9 on the back of a significant slump in business confidence compared to the previous quarter.

National results show that SMEs are continuing to hire staff, taking UK employment rates to record levels.

Gavin Opperman, group business banking director at CYBG, said: “SMEs are the backbone of Britain’s economy and cities like Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, often act as drivers of regional economies.

“Despite decelerating GDP [gross domestic product] growth and continued uncertainty about Brexit, SMEs seem wary but optimistic with a determination to ‘keep calm and carry on’.”