There has been a noticeable drop in confidence among the UK's businesses ahead of the EU referendum, according to the latest survey by Lloyds Bank.
Confidence in trading prospects fell to its lowest level in three years in May, while overall confidence and hiring plans were also down.
Lloyds said a net balance of 32% of firms surveyed said they were more confident, down from 38% in March and 45% at the start of the year. There was also an 11-point decrease in trading confidence to the three-year low of 38%.
Hann-Ju Ho, a senior economist for Lloyds Bank commercial banking, said: “Our May survey shows a second consecutive monthly fall in overall sentiment, suggesting that economic growth may slow further in the second quarter due to near-term economic risks.
“Despite this, overall confidence remains above the level in February of this year with increased resilience across our industrial sector and among larger firms.”