BUSINESS expectations in Scotland are at their highest level since 2014, according to a new study.

The Fraser of Allander Institute, based at Strathclyde University, found firms across the country are more optimistic about attracting new business and achieving a higher turnover.

Now in its 21st year, the quarterly Scottish Business Monitor gives an overview of the feeling within Scotland’s business community and is the first such report to be published since December’s General Election.

The report said: “Expectations of future business activity and turnover over the next six months are at the highest level since the second quarter of 2014.

“Expectations of employment, capital investment and export activity also appear more optimistic. However, the number of businesses reporting increasing costs continued to rise into the fourth quarter and business expectations are that business costs will continue to rise over the first half of 2020.”

Surveying businesses across five sectors – construction, retail, manufacturing, accommodation and food and finance – the study found an increase in optimism for the next six months compared to the previous quarter.

Belief that the construction industry would improve declined by 3%, while accommodation and food had a huge increase in confidence from -59% to 43%.

Finance went from -5% to 17%, with manufacturing rising from 8% to 25% and retail surging from -8% to 19%.