Small firms in Scotland wary over Donald Trump's impact

Scottish SME leaders have taken a much more negative view of key political events than the rest of the UK, emphasising existing contrasts with the rest of the country, a new study has revealed.

Almost a third of small firms in Scotland fear Donald Trump will have a negative effect on their business. Picture: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Serviced office operator Citibase said its latest business confidence index, which covers 1,100 decision-makers in the SME sector, found that 18 per cent of the UK total believed Donald Trump becoming US president, with his inauguration scheduled for today, would have a negative effect on their business. However, the figure jumped to 29 per cent among the Scottish cohort.

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The divide was also clear regarding Brexit, with only 6 per cent of Scottish SMEs believing the vote to leave Europe would have a positive effect on staff morale, as opposed to nearly three times that amount in the rest of the UK.

It comes after it was revealed earlier this week that Scotland’s economic growth is still falling behind the UK’s, with a GDP increase of 0.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2016 just a third of that experienced by the UK in the same period.

Additionally, the number of people in Scotland out of work jumped by 11,000 to 139,000 in the three months to November last year, while falling to a ten-year low across the rest of the UK.

Citibase chief executive Steve Jude described 2016 as “a year of significant political change with the UK Brexit vote followed by a Donald Trump US election win”.

He added: “No one can predict the future, however with all this political uncertainty, it is unlikely a business would sign up to an office for the long term. These SMEs crave agility to help manage risk and costs, allowing them to scale up and down easily in these fascinating times.”