Bank of Scotland reports sharp drop in business optimism

Bank of Scotland reports sharp drop in business optimism

Business confidence in Scotland fell significantly in March, according to Bank of Scotland Commercial Banking.

The bank’s latest Business Barometer showed the overall confidence level dropped 15 points to 41%, with companies reporting lower optimism in their own business prospects, down 10 points to 58%, and the economy, down 23 points to 23%.

However, a net balance of 41% of Scottish businesses expect to increase staff levels over the next year, up 15 points from the previous month. The top target areas for growth identified by Scottish firms are evolving their offering (42%), investing in their team (37%), and introducing new technology (34%).

Martyn Kendrick, regional director for Scotland at Bank of Scotland Commercial Banking, said: “Many businesses still face unpredictable market conditions and acute cost pressures, making long-term financial planning more daunting. Inevitably that has a knock-on effect on confidence.

“However, the fact that so many Scottish firms are still optimistic about their trading prospects over the coming year highlights the resilience and ambition prevalent within our business community.

“The emphasis on growing headcount and investing in workforce development is particularly encouraging. Combined, that will not only strengthen firms’ own offerings, but benefit communities across Scotland. Whatever their growth plans, we’ll continue to be by the side of Scottish business.”

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