Yorkshire defies the Brexit fear as optimism slumps

Yorkshire was the only region in the UK to see an improvement in business confidence, after new figures showed national business optimism to have fallen to the lowest point since August 2017, with fears over a No Deal Brexit fueling the gloom.

According to Lloyds bank, overall business confidence fell sharply by 10 points to 19 per cent, with the view of the outlook for the economy falling by 18 points to 8 per cent, the lowest level since the start of the year.

Firm’s confidence in their own trading prospects also fell to 3 points to 29 per cent. Yorkshire and Humberside was the only region to see a modest recovery in confidence of 6 points to 17 per cent.

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Concerns about Brexit negotiations remain at the highest level this year, with the net balance of businesses stating that the decision was having a positive or negative impact on their business prospects fell from 9 per cent to ‑7 per cent.

Brexit uncertainty appeared to be particularly high among larger firms with turnover above £100m. Small and mid-sized firms also indicated a greater degree of concern about the impact of Brexit.

Hann-Ju Ho, Senior Economist at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking said: “Business confidence is continuing to fall as firms become less optimistic about the wider economy. The confidence is impacted by the mixed rhetoric on the progress being made in the ongoing EU-UK negotiations.”

Paul Gordon, Managing Director for SME Banking, said: “Alongside a gloomier national outlook, we are seeing some regional variation in confidence from businesses. It is clear that many are cautiously waiting for more positive news, with many more likely to feel confident about their trading prospects if a Brexit deal was agreed.”