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Yorkshire business confidence continues to fall behind national average in February

Business confidence in Yorkshire and the Humber has been on the decline throughout February, according to the Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

The Business Barometer found that companies in the region reported lower confidence in their business prospects at 29%, but slightly higher economic optimism at 24%.

Together, this gives an overall confidence of 27%, which is four points below last month’s figure of 31% and below the current national average of 33%.

Companies’ hiring intentions showed that a net balance of 21% of businesses in the region expect to hire more staff during the next year, unchanged from a month ago.

The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.

Kelly Green, regional director for Yorkshire at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “While confidence in Yorkshire has dropped overall, and remains lower than in its neighbours in the North West and North East, these results still reflect a fairly robust degree of optimism by local firms.

“Businesses that are becoming more pessimistic about their own prospects should consider improving their working capital management so they are well-prepared to increase liquidity if needed.

“Undertaking working capital improvements can typically release around three to five per cent of turnover in available cash, allowing firms a buffer to see them through more troubling times.”

The region is also increasingly split on the issue of Brexit, with a net balance of 2% of businesses now saying they felt that the UK’s exit from the European Union was having a negative impact on their expectations for business activity, down 10 points on a month ago.

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