Businesses report rising confidence since January

Business confidence in Scotland rose in the first six months of the year, a survey shows

Business confidence in Scotland rose in the first six months of the year, a survey shows

Bank of Scotland research found confidence among firms, based on the outlook for sales, orders and profits, rose three points to 20%.

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Companies are increasing their investment and recruitment plans, with the number looking to grow investment in the next six months rising by 11 points to 13% compared with January.

The bank’s Business in Britain report found more firms are looking to hire, but the number reporting difficulties recruiting skilled staff rose two points to 45%.

The number expecting to increase pay rose by six points to 21%.

Fraser Sime, regional director for Scotland at Bank of Scotland, said: “Businesses in Scotland have shown great resilience and have continued to adapt to these turbulent times.

“Despite firms starting to feel more confident as the landscape shows signs of levelling out, Brexit uncertainty is still at the forefront of minds across Scotland.

“We are however seeing businesses begin to take cautious steps towards growth, with plans to increase investment and recruit more staff.

“Now we need to continue to support those businesses to ensure they seize every opportunity being created by the current climate in order to grow and achieve success.”

The survey saw firms identify Brexit as the single greatest risk to business in the next six months, cited by 29% of respondents.

Just under a half (45%) said they expect a negative impact on their business if no trade agreement is reached with the EU.

The bank analysed responses from 1,516 UK firms, of which 136 are based in Scotland.

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