This week the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Scotland published our small business confidence index for the third quarter of 2017.
Small business confidence has fallen sharply this quarter in Scotland, though UK business optimism fell even more steeply. The average Scottish business, however, is still much less optimistic than its UK equivalent.
As you can see, the Scottish business sentiment metric fell to -15.2 points, from -3.8 points in the previous quarter. The equivalent UK figure fell even more sharply over the last three months, dropping 13.9 points to +1 point.
Businesses point to rising overheads – with the increasing costs of raw materials, fuel and utilities resulting in a net balance of 7 per cent of Scottish smaller firms reporting a fall in gross profits. Further, the cost of employment continues to be highlighted by many – with the compound impact of big increases to the National Living Wage and pension auto-enrolment cited by many in lower profit industries.
FSB analysis also suggests that political uncertainty is also having an impact on business confidence. To address this, FSB has been making the case for a Brexit transitional period of at least three years, alongside a Comprehensive Free Trade agreement and immigration arrangements which work for smaller firms and Scottish communities.
For more, check out the Scottish summary and the full UK report. You can also read more in The Herald, on the BBC and in The Courier amongst other.
Source: Federation of Small Businesses 22/09/17