Less than one third of UK businesses (29%) have made Brexit plans, while less than one half (43%) have held meetings to discuss the opportunities and risks presented by leaving the European Union, according to recent ICAEW research. Of those businesses who have engaged in discussions, both formal and informal, two fifths (40%) expect EU negotiations to have a negative impact on their business – compared to only 6% who anticipate mainly positive outcomes.
With the clock ticking, the research also highlighted that almost a third of businesses (29%) believe the free movement of goods, services, and capital between the UK and the EU is essential to growth, while one fifth (20%) value access to a skilled workforce from the EU.
Michael Izza, ICAEW Chief Executive, said:
With 20 months until departure, it is now the Government’s responsibility to help pave the way for business success once we have exited the European Union. Issues raised within our research – such as access to skilled EU workers and the free movement of goods and services – should be firmly placed on the Prime Minister’s radar when she engages in talks with the EU to ensure the priorities of business are fully considered and complacency is avoided
One fifth (21%) of companies that have considered the impact are willing to explore new markets outside of the European Union. The intention to take advantage of export and trade opportunities is a positive indication that UK firms are prepared to embrace the changes leaving the EU could have on the day-to-day running their businesses.
There are a number of businesses who are enthusiastic about export prospects, however their enthusiasm will be nothing more than a pipe dream if Government doesn’t provide the necessary funding and support. This should begin with devising a robust export voucher scheme that is fit for purpose, as well as renewing or replacing programmes such as the European Investment Fund to avoid venture capital from drying up