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UK200Group member comments on North-South divide in business confidence

By CreditMan Monday, January 18, 2016

A member of the UK200Group of independent accountancy and law firms has today commented on news that a poll of 3,000 firms by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) points to a growing North-South divide in business confidence for Q4 2015. Companies in the North East, Yorkshire and Wales reported a fall in confidence over the past year, whereas confidence levels elsewhere remained stable in the final quarter. The FSB’s quarterly index also shows small business confidence in Scotland has fallen to its lowest level in three years. Confidence stood at only 0.3 points for the final three months of last year, compared with 4.6 points one year ago.

Jonathan Russell, Partner at UK200Group member firm ReesRussell: The FSB talks about a North-South divide in business confidence but in reality what I believe we are seeing is a sectorial divide. Businesses which are based within the service or innovative industries are generally positive in current outlook, whereas those businesses which are in traditional manufacturing or reliant upon public sector expenditure are more generally pessimistic. This does to some degree represent a North-South divide because this is how the bulk of the business sectors are split.