This is how confident Yorkshire’s businesses felt in August

Kelly Green: 'Uncertainty having a negative impact on optimism of Yorkshire firms'.
Kelly Green: 'Uncertainty having a negative impact on optimism of Yorkshire firms'.
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Business confidence in Yorkshire fell 11 points during August to minus five per cent, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Britain’s pending departure from the European Union continued to weigh on business confidence in the region with firms reporting a negative impact of Brexit up 15 points.

Companies in Yorkshire reported lower confidence in their business prospects at minus four per cent.

When combined with their view on the economy, it gave an overall confidence of minus five per cent.

The hiring intentions of businesses showed that a net balance of 19 per cent of firms in the region expect to reduce staff numbers during the next year.

This is 21 points down compared with July’s results, when a net balance of two per cent expected to increase their headcount.

Across the UK, overall confidence slipped to one per cent, as businesses became less optimistic towards the economic outlook, while confidence in their own prospects fell to eight per cent.

Kelly Green, regional director for Yorkshire at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “It’s clear that the current uncertainty is having a negative impact on the optimism of Yorkshire businesses, as we are seeing across the rest of the UK.

“However, as we know from many years of experience, the region’s business community is highly resilient and ready to innovate, and we look forward to confidence returning in the months ahead.

“Whatever happens, we will be by the side of businesses across the region, supporting them in achieving their growth plans. To that end, we have pledged to lend up to £1.4bn to Yorkshire businesses throughout 2019.”

Across the region, a net balance of 27 per cent 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 15 points on a month ago.

Business confidence across the region fell by 18 points in June, according to the same barometer, with firms reporting lower confidence in their business prospects, which fell 14 points to 12 per cent.

This month, firms in the West Midlands showed the most confidence, at 15 per cent, ahead of the South West, 11 per cent, and London, seven per cent.

Those in Scotland were the least confident, with an overall confidence of minus nine per cent, 10 points below the national average.

In August, business confidence in the construction sector rose by six points to 12 per cent.

Meanwhile, overall confidence fell by 16 points to three per cent in the manufacturing sector, and by 11 points to six per cent in retail, the lowest levels seen for those sectors this year.

Confidence was also down 15 points to minus three per cent in the services sector, bringing it near to the February low of minus four per cent.

Hann-Ju Ho, senior economist for Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “We have seen a dip in overall business confidence this month, with firms appearing less positive about their own trading prospects and the broader economy, and remaining low against the historic average.

“While ongoing economic uncertainty is likely a key driver, it’s worth noting that companies’ assessment of the expected impact on their business of the UK leaving the EU has remained broadly unchanged this year.”

The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide. The Business Barometer started in January 2002.

This month 100 businesses from Yorkshire took part in the survey.