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HIE survey shows confidence on rise


By Staff Reporter

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Martin Johnson, HIE’s director of strategy and regional economy.
Martin Johnson, HIE’s director of strategy and regional economy.

Regional development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), has published a report on its latest survey of 1000 businesses across the region, from a variety of sectors.

Carried out in February it is the 18th Business Panel Survey commissioned by HIE over the past six years.

It covers topics such as economic confidence, workforce, risks and opportunities, and international trade.

The findings show that economic confidence remains low, but less so than in previous surveys carried out over the past year.

Covid-19 and the lockdown restrictions introduced to reduce transmission was identified most frequently as the greatest risk facing businesses in the next six months and was mentioned by just over three-quarters (77 per cent) of respondents.

This was followed by Brexit (43 per cent), Scotland’s relationship with the rest of the UK (37 per cent) and the global economy (23 per cent).

However most businesses (84 per cent) were confident they would be viable in the next six months, with 38 per cent very confident

Martin Johnson, HIE’s director of strategy and regional economy, said: “We are extremely grateful to all those who have taken part. Once again, they have provided some really valuable feedback and detailed insights into the challenges and opportunities facing businesses in the region.

“We already know that the Highlands and Islands has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and that Brexit is also likely to have a bigger impact on the region than many other parts of the UK. The feedback received through the Business Panel surveys helps to inform decisions on how support should be tailored to best meet the region’s needs and maximise our opportunities.”

The full survey report is available on HIE’s website.


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