Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Sharp decline in South West business confidence

David BeaumontThere was a sharp decline in South West business confidence in September, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Business confidence in the region fell 12 points during September to –1 percent. Companies reported lower confidence in their business prospects at 10 percent. When taken alongside their views of the economy overall, this gives an overall confidence of –1 percent.

The findings bucked the national trend, where overall confidence rose one point to two percent as firms’ confidence in their own prospects climbed five points to 13 percent.

Businesses in the East Midlands showed the most confidence, at 15 percent. Least confident were businesses in Scotland, at –18 percent.

The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.

David Beaumont, regional director for the South West at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “The South West is a robust and resilient region, but September has seen a sharp decline in business confidence.

“When businesses can begin to plan with a little more clarity, we expect confidence to bounce back, as it has in the past.

“In the meantime, we are by the side of those businesses and supporting them through the opportunities and challenges they face.

"This is why we have committed to lending £1.5 billion to companies across the region, as part of our commitment to help businesses in Britain prosper at any point in the cycle.”

Across the region, a net balance of 37 percent of businesses said they felt that the UK’s exit from the European Union was having a negative impact on their expectations for business activity, up 25 points on a month ago.