Small Business Confidence in Scotland Lagging Behind UK Average
March 28, 2018
Confidence levels among small businesses in Scotland are lagging well behind those of their counterparts across the rest of the UK.
That’s according to research carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), whose figures suggest that there are considerably more Scottish firms feeling pessimistic about their prospects than is generally the case across Britain as a whole.
The FSB’s ‘Scottish Small Business Index’ showed an uptick in the first three months of 2018 from -21.4 points to -17.8 points but optimism remains in notably short supply north of the border.
During the same period, optimism among all UK SMEs jumped from -2.5 points to +6.0 points, according to the FSB’s latest numbers.
“It is good to see Scottish business confidence recovering from the near record lows that we saw at the end of 2017,” noted the FSB’s Scottish policy convener Andy Wilcox.
“But Scottish firms are still gloomy about prospects, and far less optimistic than the average UK business.”
A majority (55 per cent) of the SMEs quizzed about their views on current trading conditions in Scotland said that the condition of the domestic economy represented a barrier to the potential growth of their businesses.
A net balance of 13.5 per cent of small Scottish businesses reported falls in revenue during the first three months of this year.
The FSB says it wants to see greater clarity given to small businesses about what the future holds for enterprises across the country once the UK is operating outside the European Union.
“If we’re to restore Scottish confidence and turn firms’ investment ambitions into reality, we need to do more to reassure our business community,” Mr Wilcox said.
“Last week, valuable details emerged regarding the Brexit transition period. This is a step in the right direction – but as many businesses plan many years in advance, we must see the final Brexit terms as soon as possible.”
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