Rural Scotland Business Panel Survey February 2023

This report presents findings from the fourth Rural Scotland Business Panel Survey carried out in October and November 2022.

Appendix D – Questionnaire

Good morning/afternoon/evening. My name is ... I’m calling from Ipsos Scotland, the independent research organisation, on behalf of <highlands and islands enterprise><south of scotland enterprise><the scottish government>.

We are conducting a short survey to monitor business confidence, and identify the challenges and opportunities currently presenting themselves <across the region and the rest of rural scotland> <across the region and the rest of rural scotland> <across rural scotland>.

Findings of the survey will be <shared with><used by> the Scottish Government to ensure that the voices of businesses in <the region><the region><rural scotland> are heard, and will help to inform planning and decision making. <within highlands and islands enterprise><within south of scotland enterprise>.

Ask all

Q1. I need to speak with the owner or a senior manager at <company_name> at that address. Are you the best person to talk to?

Yes - continue 1 (go to q2)

No - ask to be transferred to correct person 2 (go back to q1)

Ask all

Q2. Which of the following best describes the legal status of {company_name}? Single code Read out, code first that applies.

Sole trader 1

Limited liability partnership 2

Legal partnership 3

Company limited by guarantee 4

Limited company by shares 5

Scottish charitable incorporated organisation 6

Constituted community group 7

Unconstituted community group 8

Community interest company 9

Trust 10

Ask all

Q3. Which of the following, if any, describes your business?


Women-led 1

Family-owned 2

A business where employees hold a majority of shares 3

Don’t know 4

Pre-code none, otherwise open numeric.

None 1

Don’t know (do not read out) 2

Ask all

Single code each row.

Answer codes:

Yes 1

No 2

Don’t know (do not read out) 3

Ask all

single code

Single code each row.

Answer codes:

Yes 1

No 2

Don’t know (do not read out) 3

Optimism and performance

Ask all.

Q7. How confident are you in the economic outlook for Scotland over the next 12 months?

Single code. Read out.

Very confident 1

Fairly confident 2

Not very confident 3

Not at all confident 4

Don’t know (do not read out) 5

Ask all

Q8. And over the previous six months, since April 2022, has your level of confidence in the economic outlook in Scotland increased, decreased or has it stayed the same?

Single code

Increased 1

Decreased 2

Stayed the same 3

Don’t know (do not read out) 4

Ask all

Single code

Performed exceptionally well 1

Performed quite well 2

Been fairly steady 3

Struggled slightly 4

Struggled markedly 5

Refused 6

Don’t know 7

Ask all

Q10. Please tell me if the following has increased, stayed the same or decreased over the last six months.

Single code each row. Randomise order.

Increased Decreased Stayed the same Don’t know N/a
A Employment 1 2 3 4 5
B Exports 1 2 3 4 5
C Sales or turnover 1 2 3 4 5

Ask all

Ask all

Single code

Very confident 1

Fairly confident 2

Not that confident 3

Not at all confident 4

Don’t know 5

Ask if confident in their viability (codes 1 or 2 at q12)

Operating about the same level 1

Below where we are now 2

Over and above where we are now 3

It is too soon to say 4

Don’t know 5

Ask if not confident in their viability (codes 3 or 4 at Q12)

Ask all

Q15. Over the past 12 months, how much have these costs increased for your business?

Electricity and gas

Other utilities

Raw materials

Transportation of goods

Equipment purchase or repair

Mortgage or rent

Staff wages


Cost of servicing debts

Business rates and insurance

Don’t know

Answer codes:




No increase

Don’t know

Ask all

Read out. Multicode up to 3.

Electricity and gas 1

Other utilities 2

Raw materials 3

Transportation of goods 4

Equipment purchase or repair 5

Mortgage or rent 6

Staff wages 7

Recruitment 8

Cost of servicing debts 9

Business rates and insurance 10

Don’t know 11

Ask all

Q17. In what ways have cost increases impacted on your business so far?


Loss or reduction in customer demand 5

Less competitive 6

Unable to utilise the goods or materials we used to 7

None – no impact 12

Ask all

Q18. Which of the following had you planned, but are having to delay or postpone because of cost increases?


Recruit new staff 1

Increase staff wages or benefits 2

Develop new products or services 3

Make energy efficiency improvements 5

Invest in technology 6

Upgrade or move premises 7

Staff training and development 8

Ask all

Now thinking about other aspects of finance….

Ask all

Q20. Which of these, if any, are financial concerns for your business at the current time?


Unpredictable costs 1

Restricted access to finance 2

Low or no cash reserves 3

Repayment of covid-19 recovery loans 4

Repayment of other debt 5

Increased interest rates on loans and debt 6

Low profit margins or losses 7

None of these 8

Don’t know 9

Q21. Which of the following forms of finance is your business currently using or planning to use?

Public sector grants or loans

Loans from banks or financial institutions

Equity finance or shares

Crowd funding or peer lending

Credit or overdrafts

Already using 1

Not using but planning to 2

Not planning to 3

Don’t know/not applicable (do not read out) 4

Ask all

Q22. In what ways have the cost crisis impacted on you personally?


Generally feeling worried or stressed 1

Working longer hours 2

Reduced my own pay or benefits 3

Struggling to balance work and home life 4

My mental health has suffered 5

My physical health has suffered 6

Other 7

None of the above 8

Prefer not to say 9

Ask employers

Q23. In what ways have you seen the cost crisis impacting on your staff?


Increase in sickness absence 1

Requests for more flexibility in working patterns or locations 2

Requests for longer hours or additional work 3

Requests for mental health support 4

Requests for financial advice and support 5

Low morale 6

Working at or beyond capacity 7

Other 8

None of the above 9

Don’t know 10

Ask employers

Q24. For existing staff what actions you taking or planning to take in response to the cost crisis?


Offering mental health support 1

Encouraging flexible working 2

Offering shorter working weeks on the same pay 3

Engaging with staff to understand their needs 4

Targeting support at those on lowest wages 5

Increasing wages 6

Supporting home or remote working 7

Providing staff with free meals 8

Providing one off hardship payments 9

Providing other types of financial support 10

Signposting to external financial support 11

Other 12

None of the above 13

Don’t know 14

Moving on…

Ask all

If yes at Q25

Q26. Which of the following approaches have taken to help you recruit staff recently?

Recruited from further afield within the UK 1

Recruited from international markets 2

Supported relocation costs 3

Helped source or provide accommodation 4

Accommodated childcare requirements 5

Supported employment for partners 6

Other 7

Don’t know 8

Word of mouth or personal recommendations 1

Adverts on your social media 2

Adverts on your own website 3

Paid-for recruitment service, including the press 4

A government recruitment service or scheme 5

School, college or university job fairs or careers services 6

Other 7

Don’t know 8

Ask any panel members not already asked first screener question and where the email field in the sample is blank

Enter email address and read back to confirm

Recontact section

The Scottish government wants to carry out regular research to understand the issues facing businesses and social enterprises across rural Scotland. Would you be willing to join the Scottish government’s panel of rural businesses? As a panel member you will be invited to take part in regular research, including telephone surveys like this one a few times a year. As well as these surveys, the Scottish government may also contact panel members to take part in other forms of research. All information collected will be held securely in accordance with the general data protection regulation 2018, and will only be used for the activities we have outlined to you.

Willing to join panel. 1

No / refused. 2

If willing to join

I just need to collect some contact details from you so that we can send out more details of the panel

Q name

And can I make a note of your full name. Again, just how you would prefer to be addressed in letters or emails.

First name (cannot be blank)

Middles name(s)

Surname (cannot be blank)

Refused. 2

Check telephone

Can I confirm, your telephone number is… (read out)?

Yes. 1

Scripting: if yes, please take telephone number from sample and input into data field

No. 2

Refused. 2

Ask if both telephone number and email address


And would you prefer that we made initial contact by email or telephone?

Email. 1

Telephone. 2

Complete – thank and close



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