British small businesses confidence waned in late 2017 as a cocktail of higher costs, weak domestic growth and lacklustre consumer demand is dampening the optimism among small businesses.
The confidence among the federation of small business members across Britain fell to a four-year low of -2.5 in the last three months of 2017 from, it said.
The business federation said that slipped +1.1 points in the third quarter and +20.0 in the first three months of the year.
The decline was especially steep in Scotland, where the index fell to -21.4 points in the fourth quarter from -15.3 points in the third, a low only surpassed in the final quarter of 2016, reports Reuters.
The impact of Britain’s decision to leave the EU has been rippling through the economy in 2017 because of higher inflation after a fall in the value of the pound, and uncertainty among businesses about the implications of Brexit.
The FSB surveyed 1,084 members of its members between Nov 9 and Nov 25, before Prime Minister Theresa May reached agreement with the EU in December to move on to more detailed trade talks.
In the UK as a whole, a record one in seven small business owners are planning to downsize, close or sell their business over the coming three months, the survey found.
The FSB said three quarters of firms were experiencing a rise in operating costs versus a year ago.