Yorkshire businesses most confident in UK

Overall business confidence in Yorkshire and the Humber showed signs of improvement during March, making the region the most confident in the UK, according to the Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Yorkshire firms reported higher economic optimism at 25% and higher confidence in their business prospects at 16%. As a result, this gives an overall confidence of 21%, after placing at 0% in February.

Businesses’ hiring intentions show a net balance of 15% of companies in Yorkshire expect to hire more staff during the next year, up nine points on last month.

The Lloyds Bank Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly above their sentiment on UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.

Kelly Green, regional director for Yorkshire at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “There’s currently a lot for Yorkshire firms to feel positive about despite ongoing headwinds, so it’s good to see firms’ confidence bounce back.

“Take the region’s exports as one example. Government figures released earlier this month showed that Yorkshire had the second highest growth in exports of all UK regions during 2018.

“Meanwhile, West Yorkshire is beginning to embrace opportunities linked to Channel 4’s upcoming move to Leeds, which is creating jobs and buoying confidence locally.

“We’ve pledged to lend up to £1.4bn to Yorkshire firms this year to support growth, whether that’s through overseas trade or capitalising on inward investment.”

Businesses across the region were evenly split over whether the UK’s exit from the European Union was having a positive or negative impact on their expectations for business activity.