SCOTTISH businesses remain optimistic despite output falling to a four-year low.

The latest trends report by accountants and business advisers BDO LLP found Scotland is following a UK trend with a slow down in orders over the next three months.

However, a slight strengthening of the pound following the announcement of the General Election and a steadying of inflation has increased optimism.

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BDO’s output index, which indicates how firms expect their order books to develop over the next three months, fell to 95.6 in April from 95.9 in March, the lowest in four years.

The report said the figure is now well below the long-term growth trend of 100 and just above the point of contraction. However, the manufacturing optimism index rose from 110.6 in March to 112.2 in April and is now at its highest since January 2015.

Martin Gill, head of BDO in Scotland, said: “There appears to be growing disconnect between what businesses are experiencing now and how they expect their order books to develop in the coming six months. Governments should not be afraid to support growth if and when it is required.”