Business owners in South Lakeland feel less confident about their future than they did a year ago, new data has revealed.
A survey, conducted by the District Council to gauge opinion amid the cost of living crisis, found almost 40% did not feel confident about the next 12 months.
While 63% said they did, that figure is down 15% on 2021.
A total of 1,243 useable responses were recorded, with 31% of business owners that received the survey completing it - the highest response rate since the survey began in 2014.
Councillor Robin Ashcroft, Portfolio Holder for Economy, Culture and Leisure, said: "The economic landscape has certainly become more challenging in recent times, which is reflected in these most recent findings from our business premises survey.
"But I am, as always, struck by the level of resilience and innovation shown by businesses in South Lakeland to continue to thrive in the face of such challenges.
"These strengths underline the massive contribution businesses here make towards making our area a great place to live, work and explore."
The information gathered in this latest survey will be carried forward and be available to the new Westmorland and Furness Council, which will replace Cumbria County Council, Eden District Council, South Lakeland District Council and Barrow Borough Council on 1 April.
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