Scots small business confidence highest since 2015

The confidence of small businesses in Scotland is at its highest since 2015, according to new research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

FSB’s Scottish Small Business Confidence Index climbed from –17.8 points to +5.1 points in the second quarter of 2018, the first time since 2015 that the business optimism metric has climbed into positive territory.

While the UK Small Business Confidence Index also climbed over the last three months from +6 points to stand at +12.9 points, the gap in optimism between Scottish and UK firms is at its lowest since the second quarter of 2014.

FSB Scotland policy chair Andrew McRae said: “The reason for this change is difficult to pinpoint – though anecdote suggests that tourism firms are expecting a bumper summer and those involved in oil and gas are facing kinder trading conditions.

“Whatever the reason, Scotland’s decision-makers need to nurture this newfound optimism.

“That means delivering on promises to improve the country’s digital infrastructure and talking up the power of local business to drive growth and create opportunities.

“It also means Scottish Government Ministers instructing our public agencies to prepare the country for the economic consequences of Brexit.”

FSB’s Small Business Confidence Index is based on a survey of FSB members, carried out by Verve between April 16 and April 30, 2018 – with 118 Scottish responses and 1,012 across the UK.