Less than a third of UK businesses have made formal Brexit plans

With Brexit negotiations resuming this week, the picture of a post-Brexit UK is still no clearer. So how are businesses preparing for Brexit?

Research by ICAEW reveals that less than one third of UK businesses (29%) have made formal Brexit plans. It is unclear whether this is borne out of ambivalence or apathy, or whether companies are simply preferring an agile approach to the uncertainties of Brexit.

Furthermore, the research showed that less than half (43%) of UK businesses have held meetings to discuss potential obstacles and outcomes of leaving the EU. Of those who have engaged in Brexit discussions, 40% take a negative view and expect a negative impact on their business, while only 6% view the potential outcomes positively.

When considering how Brexit may impact the UK, 29% of respondents believed the free movement of goods, services, and capital between the UK and the EU is essential to growth and 20% emphasised the value of access to a skilled workforce from the EU.

Expressing a willingness to adapt to the future opportunities of Brexit, 21% of companies said they would be willing to explore new markets outside of 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.”

Michael continued; “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.”

Central to the Brexit talks will be the UK’s post-Brexit trade policy  and the potential Brexit divorce bill.

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