CONFIDENCE among small and medium sized enterprises in Scotland has plunged to the lowest level recorded in the UK, a study for Clydesdale Bank owner CYBG has found.

The reading for Scotland on the group’s SME Health Check index fell from 43.4 to 35.5 in the first quarter. This was the lowest reading for Scotland since the index was launched in 2014.

CYBG said the fall in confidence was accompanied by weakness on the sales front which suggested many Scottish SMEs came under pressure at the start of the year.

The UK reading fell to 48.5 from 55.1.

CYBG found Aberdeen had the lowest growth rate of 25 cities in the UK in terms of growth in SME numbers from 2014 to 2018. It cited Aberdeen's dependence on the weak oil and gas sector, which has been hit by the fallout from the sharp fall in the crude price since 2014.

Glasgow ranked 15th with Edinburgh 19th.