Brexit fails to dampen spirits of small businesses

Although 90 per cent of business leaders expect a fall in economic growth in the short term, they expect the outlook to improve, with 55 per cent fearing that economic growth will fall in the longer term.

Nine in ten business leaders expect Brexit to prompt a fall in economic growth in the short-term, according to the Business Growth Fund’s Growth Climate Index.

However, 74 per cent of the 450 respondents argue that Britain is still a great place to start and grow a business. Furthermore, despite the uncertainty surrounding the EU referendum, just 41 per cent of those surveyed postponed key business decisions over the campaign period.

Looking forward to the upcoming negotiations with the EU, a majority of those surveyed (54 per cent) feel that continued access to the single market should be the priority during discussions with Europe.

This is followed by attracting overseas businesses to remain or invest in the UK (22 per cent) and ensuring that businesses can attract and hire the best international skills and talent (10 per cent).

Just 9 per cent of respondents think that reducing the regulatory burden on business should be the negotiating priority.

There is significant agreement among respondents on the sectoral impact of Brexit, with a majority of 58 per cent believing that the financial services sector will be most affected by Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. This is followed by manufacturing (16 per cent) and construction (9 per cent).

Stephen Welton, chief executive of BGF says, ‘Business leaders and entrepreneurs are clearly concerned about some of the implications of Brexit, but like me they remain positive about Britain as a place to do business.

‘The fundamentals that make the UK so attractive to growing businesses have not disappeared, and businesses will continue to contribute to the economy and create jobs.

However, we cannot wait for politicians to provide the answers, he adds.

‘It is vital that business continues to make its voice heard to ensure that its priorities are high on the next government’s agenda. Most importantly, we should aim to ensure that Britain remains a pro-enterprise country and that businesses retain the best possible access to the single market.’

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