With only six months left until Britain leaves the European Union, the negotiating parties appear to be no closer to a deal, which has hit a massive nerve with businesses.
In one of the biggest surveys of business opinion since the referendum on UK’s membership of the EU, the results indicated:
- 21% of surveyed businesses will cut investment if there is ‘no deal’,
- 20% will move part or all of their business to the EU
- 18% will cut recruitment — but in the event of a status quo transition these numbers fall dramatically
- 62% of firms still haven’t completed a Brexit risk assessment
A “no deal” is the most unwanted Brexit scenario for businesses and the majority in Westminster alike. Senior ministers are increasingly concerned that the PM Theresa May will do right by her promise and proceed with a no-deal Brexit if Europe rejects her plan again next month.
According to Dr. Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), businesses have been clear in their urge to see a deal that addresses “the future terms of trade and provides certainty” should be number one on the government’s to-do list.
“Larger firms and those active in international trade would suffer the most from a disorderly and sudden exit from the EU, but there will be impacts across the board. Most concerning of all, a materially significant number of businesses are considering moving part or all of their operations to the EU in the event of ‘no deal’. The government must act urgently and decisively to get a comprehensive deal done. They also need to use the levers they have, such as the upcoming Budget, to ensure they provide the right conditions for growth at home,” the BCC chief said.
The survey also highlights the fact that businesses across the UK are not ready for Brexit.
More than a half haven’t done a risk assessment of the impact of Brexit on their business. Smaller firms are less prepared for the eventualities of Brexit than their larger counterparts — firms with over 250 employees.
Finally, one in five companies said that a “no deal” scenario would push them to relocate to the EU27.
It is not the first time that BCC has pressed the government for an expedited solution. In July, business leaders announced that their patience is at breaking point, calling for “clarity” on Brexit.
READ MORE: UK Business Patience at Breaking Point as 24 Brexit Real-World Questions Set