Leaders of small businesses in Scotland are much gloomier about the prospects of growth than anywhere else in the UK.
Research from Hitachi Capital Business Finance suggests that small firm owners here are half as confident about growth than their counterparts in London and significantly short of the UK average.
Wales ranks slightly above Scotland in the number of small firms expecting growth.
Overall in the UK 26% of small business owners predict growth in the three-months to 31 March – just a 1% change on Q3 2020 and Q4 2021 respectively.
But only 17% of owners in Scotland and 18% in Wales are are forecasting growth over the quarter.
Following a crash in small business growth forecasts during the first lockdown in March 2020 – falling from 39% to 14% overnight – the proportion of small business owners UK-wide predicting growth doubled the following quarter and has remained at