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New survey reveals that 76% of small businesses feel unsupported ahead of Brexit

3-minute read

Sam Bromley

18 April 2019

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A new survey commissioned by Simply Business reveals that more than three quarters of small businesses feel unsupported ahead of Brexit.

The UK's small businesses are the powerhouse of the economy. According to the Federation of Small Businesses, they account for more than 99 per cent of all UK businesses and total employment in SMEs is 16.3 million – 60 per cent of UK private sector employment.

This is why it's vital that the small business view on preparing for Brexit is heard. So, as debate continues in Westminster, we wanted to find out whether the government has been doing all it can to support Britain’s small businesses when it comes to Brexit itself.

We asked 1,200 small business owners whether they feel supported, as well as whether a lack of support is impacting their business. Here’s what we discovered:

76% of small businesses feel unsupported

brexit businesses feel unsupported

  • more than three quarters of businesses surveyed told us they don’t feel supported ahead of Brexit
  • only 20 per cent of the businesses surveyed said they know where to look for advice on how to safeguard their business’ future

There were 5.7 million small and medium-sized businesses in the UK in 2018, which accounts for 99 per cent of all British businesses (according to Parliament UK’s Business Statistics Report).

Whether you voted Leave or Remain, the fact that the UK’s businesses – the backbone of the economy – don’t feel like they’ve been given enough guidance is something that could put the UK’s workforce at risk.

35% of businesses have delayed growth plans and investment

brexit businesses delay growth plans

Some businesses told us that the lack of certainty around Brexit is making it difficult to plan too far ahead:

  • more than a third of business owners have decided to delay growth plans and further investment in their business
  • eight per cent of owners surveyed said they’ve made redundancies to cut costs, double that of the four per cent who are looking to hire new staff

31% of businesses say they’ve felt a negative impact…

brexit third of businesses feel negative impact

Almost a third of businesses say Brexit has already had a negative impact on them ahead of the UK’s official withdrawal:

  • 19 per cent say that they’re close to closing their business due to the lack of support and guidance
  • while some businesses say that they haven’t felt any negative impact, 40 per cent of those claim they expect to feel this by the end of the year

brexit businesses close to closing

...but 8% of businesses predict that Brexit will be positive

While the majority of businesses are feeling sensitive to Brexit uncertainty, 1 in 12 (eight per cent) of businesses are predicting that they’ll see a positive post-Brexit impact.

Even more businesses (14 per cent) say they’ve seen an increase in sales and orders while Britain’s exit from the EU is negotiated, and 20 per cent claim they’re actively exploring new markets.

No Brexit blueprint for businesses

Bea Montoya, COO at Simply Business, said: “There isn’t a blueprint for what happens after Brexit, which is particularly challenging for the UK’s 5.7m hardworking SMEs.

“The self-employed are the backbone of the British economy, and they deserve more support and guidance – after all, it's they who employ the majority of the UK workforce. A workforce which, according to our survey, is potentially at risk. Surely the government can clarify guidelines for what steps SMEs should take?"

Do you feel that your business is prepared for Brexit? Let us know in the comments below.

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We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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