SCOTTISH small business confidence slid in the third quarter of 2019, reversing the surprise resurgence seen earlier in the year, new figures show.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) showed that, in the third quarter of 2019, the Scottish Small Business Index (SBI) – their measure of enterprise optimism – fell from +3.3 points to -13.5 points. Over the same period, the UK figure gained marginally from -8.8 points to -8.1 points.

For the first time since the index began in 2010, the overall UK figure has been in negative territory for five successive quarters.

Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chair, said: “Scottish business confidence has evaporated over the last quarter.

“We must see progress on avoiding a No-Deal, no-transition Brexit. While firms must do what they can to prepare for this outcome, it would be unforgivable if good Scottish businesses go to the wall because of political games.”

According to the research, three quarters (76%) of Scottish businesses say that their costs have increased compared to the same point last year. UK-wide about two thirds (67%) of businesses reported increased overheads.