Scots business confidence falls to lowest in UK

Scottish business confidence dropped to the UK’s lowest in November, as economic uncertainty dragged on sentiment.

A net balance of 29 per cent of businesses felt that Brexit was having a negative impact. Picture: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

Bank of Scotland’s Business Barometer slipped by three points to -6 per cent after Scottish companies reported lower confidence in their own business prospects, along with increasingly negative views of the economy.

Across Scotland, a net balance of 29 per cent of businesses felt that Brexit was having a negative impact on their expectations for business activity, up five points from a month earlier.

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Businesses in Scotland were the least confident of all the nations and regions across the UK, recording a confidence level 15 points below the national average.

Fraser Sime, regional director for Scotland at Bank of Scotland Commercial Banking, said: “Unpredictability is a factor we’re all facing as we navigate through the current political climate.”

Despite this, a net balance of 7 per cent of businesses in Scotland expect to hire more staff during the next year, up three points on last month.

A survey from Bank of Scotland owner Lloyds showed that overall confidence across the UK improved for the third consecutive month, rising three points to 9 per cent as optimism about the economy likewise increased.

The largest increase is sentiment took place in the retail sector, which climbed six points higher to 21 per cent.

Paul Gordon, managing director for small and medium-sized enterprises and mid-corporates at Lloyds Commercial Banking, said: “Overall, the national outlook continues to pick up with London seeing a step change from last month as business sentiment rose in the capital.

“Businesses will hope the political and economic environment supports a further increase in confidence as we move towards the end of the year.”

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