More than half of firms in the Close Brothers Invoice Finance Business Barometer have significant concerns that Brexit could adversely affect their businesses.
With just weeks to go until the UK and the European Union are due to agree a transitional deal on Brexit, many of Britain’s small and medium-sized enterprises are still worried about a broad range of issues with the potential to hold their businesses back. However, Close Brothers Invoice Finance’s research also reveals that for almost half of SMEs it is business-as-usual, with anxieties about how the UK will leave the EU not clouding their outlook at all.
In part, the data mirrors the continuing divide in wider society, where the differences between former Remain and Leave campaigners are still as wide as ever. However, more tellingly, the split reflects the diverse nature of the UK’s SMEs. While some businesses are significant exporters to the EU, or active recruiters of labour from other parts of the bloc, others are much more domestically focused. The direct impact of Brexit on this latter group will naturally be less obvious.
Amongst businesses that do have concerns, the single biggest worry is that Brexit has the potential to negatively affect business growth; 25 per cent of all the SMEs in the Close Brothers Invoice Finance Business Barometer cite this fear. A further 14 per cent are worried about potential negative impacts on their ability to hire, while 11 per cent fear Brexit may make it more difficult for them to access finance. Other issues causing anxiety include the prospect of reduced access to finance prior to Brexit (10 per cent), the potential to negatively impact investment plans (9 per cent) and the possibility of losing EU grants (8 per cent).