A new survey published by the Department for Business, Energy, Innovation and Skills has found that 29% of small and medium sized businesses consider Brexit “a major obstacle to the success of their business.”
The business most likely to be concerned were those in information and communication, and retail and wholesale. In both sectors, 35% of respondents believe Brexit is a major obstacle. Given there are 5.7 million SMEs in the UK, this means that around 1.65 million businesses see Brexit as a major obstacle to success.
Of those who believe Brexit to be a major obstacle more than half (58%) have experienced difficulties due to the rising cost of EU imports or expect to in the future. This figure rises to 84% for retail businesses, 71% for those in accommodation and food services and 74% for manufacturing businesses.
Other difficulties anticipated by businesses who think Brexit is a major obstacle include a decrease in investment (33% have experienced or expect to experience), rising costs of EU exports (31%) and recruiting and retaining EU labour (26%).
Commenting, Sir Vince Cable MP, leader of the Liberal Democrats, former Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, and leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said:
“Brexit has already been very damaging for businesses and jobs up and down this country, with vital British industries like steel, car manufacturing, retail and services feeling the strain. This new survey further underlines how clearly the ill effects are being felt by business.
“With the Government in chaos and Parliament gridlocked, the only way to reach a stable and lasting settlement is to give the public the final say with an opportunity to keep our current, better deal in the EU.”
Notes to Editors:
All survey data is taken from BEIS publication “Longitudinal Small Business Survey: SME employers (businesses with 1-249 employees) – UK, 2018” and can be found on pages 25-27 (link)
According to the House of Commons Library, there are 5.7 million SMEs in the UK as of 2018 (link)