UK SMEs optimistic about post Brexit futures

A year on from the Brexit referendum, confidence among UK small businesses remains high and businesses are still optimistic.

The DAS UK Group, which contains a specialist legal expenses insurer and law firm, has released the findings of its SME Market Barometer. With the issue of Brexit at the forefront of business owners’ minds as the government begins Brexit negotiations, the survey examined their attitudes and hopes post Brexit and found that SMEs are confident about the potential growth of their businesses, with 55 per cent expecting to grow and only nine per cent expecting to downsize over the next two to three years.

The research also finds that every business surveyed has experienced at least one legal issue in the past 12 months. Unsurprisingly, legal matters were flagged as one of the top issues facing businesses today. In fact, large SMEs (those with 50 -249 employees) faced on average at least two legal issues in the past year alone.

The top legal issues that businesses encountered include; chasing payments from customers or debt from business partners (37 per cent of businesses), followed by tax issues (25 per cent), business contracts (24 per cent) pensions (15 per cent), health and safety issues (14 per cent) and property related issues (four per cent).

The research shows that businesses that have a legal expenses insurance policy (LEI) place more importance on legal issues and businesses that do this tend to be more optimistic about growth. Also, while three out of four SMEs surveyed are aware of LEI, only one in three actually have a policy.

The DAS survey also revealed how UK SME’s bought their insurance, with 46 per cent of those surveyed buying through a broker, 44 per cent buying directly, 16 per cent went through a price comparison website and seven per cent buying via a bank. Research allowed SMEs to choose multiple answers

James Henderson, managing director insurance – UK & Ireland, DAS UK Group says, ‘It was interesting to note the level of business confidence amongst SME’s despite the economic uncertainties surrounding Brexit and what any deal will look like. With the seemingly every-present business risk of having to tackle legal issues, we hope that the peace of mind being given to our customers will enable SME’s to turn their optimistic outlooks to balance sheet reality.

‘Our SME market barometer disproves the perceived wisdom that legal insurance only benefits large companies. With every SME surveyed reporting at least one legal challenge to their business in the last twelve months, the value legal expenses insurance could provide is evident. SMEs are a key part of our customer base and the insight provided by the barometer will helps us develop and expand our products to better meet their needs.’

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