Official figures released last week that showed growth in the Scottish economy all but stalled in the last quarter of 2015. That was supported by two separate business surveys which have suggested the recent downturn in the Scottish economy may be intensifying.
The Bank of Scotland's latest PMI which measures changes in manufacturing and services output, posted 48.5 in March, falling from February's 49.2. Any figure below 50 indicates economic contraction. Output in the private sector declined last month, while the amount of new business continued to fall. Purchasing managers reported "harsher business conditions" in March.
Meanwhile, a survey by business advisers BDO suggested the slowing services sector was "knocking the confidence" of Scottish firms. It showed that business optimism had hit its lowest level in more than two years. BDO's latest Business Trends Report also painted a gloomy picture, suggesting that the slowing services industry was "taking its toll" on the Scottish economy. Martin Gill, head of BDO in Scotland, said: "These figures show that political and economic uncertainty is affecting optimism among Scotland's businesses.”