OVERALL confidence among businesses in Yorkshire has risen during June according to findings from the latest Business Barometer survey.

Although companies in the region reported lower confidence in their own business prospects month-on-month at -22 per cent, economic optimism climbed 14 points at -26 per cent.

This amounts to overall confidence of -23 per cent, eight points higher than the previous month, and is above the UK average of -30 per cent. It leaves Yorkshire the second least pessimistic region in the UK.

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

When asked about the impact of coronavirus on their business, almost half (48 per cent) said they expect to be operating at more than 50 per cent capacity by the end of June, although 4 per cent didn’t expect to be operating at all.

A fifth (19 per cent) said it would take three months until they were back to operating at pre-COVID-19 levels, with only 6 per cent expecting it to take more than 12 months.

The majority of firms continued to see demand fall during June, though the picture improved month-on-month. While 63 per cent experienced a fall in demand for their products and services, this was down six points on May. Meanwhile, 14 per cent experienced an increase in demand, up two points on the month before.

Of the 69 per cent of businesses reporting disruption to their supply chain during June, 28 per cent expected the situation to improve within three months, with just 3 per cent expecting it to take more than 12 months.

Paul Varley, regional director for Yorkshire & the Humber at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “There are encouraging signs in June’s Barometer reading, with Yorkshire firms having one of the least pessimistic outlooks in the UK.

“The region has the smallest proportion of companies not operating and the highest percentage of firms working above half capacity – so it does indicate that business confidence is starting to pick up.

“With further easing of restrictions and social distancing measures, we hope that the region’s outlook continues to improve. We’ll be by the side of Yorkshire businesses as they plan ahead for the future.”

Across the UK, business confidence grew marginally month-on-month, rising three points to -30 per cent.

The West Midlands was the least pessimistic region at -18 per cent, followed jointly by Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East at -23 per cent. Scotland was the most pessimistic, with confidence dropping eight points month-on-month to -41 per cent.

The survey was conducted with 1,200 companies – including 99 businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber.