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UK businesses wary of EU exit – ICAEW

UK businesses remain concerned about the UK’s future outside the EU and caution that it could lead to lower economic growth, according to a report by the ICAEW.


The survey found that 69% of senior business professionals, who are also chartered accountants, expect uncertainty surrounding the UK relationship with the EU which could affect them negatively. Of the 501 people surveyed, 67% fear lower UK economic growth will hurt their business, while 63% fear a slowdown in the global economy.


Moreover, 58% of businesses were unsettled by the lack of clarity on longer-term business priorities from the government. Large businesses were the most negative with 62% of them feeling more pessimistic, compared to 51% of small businesses.

Rising inflation worried 62% of large businesses and 54% of SMEs, while availability of skilled workers concerned 54% large businesses and 43% SMEs. Uncertainty created by a possible change of government worried 56% of the leaders surveyed, while 38% said this would have little or no impact.

Meanwhile, 54% of businesses said possible regulatory changes under a different government could hurt their business, while 24% said it would have little or no impact.

Michael Izza, ICAEW chief executive, said, “We know that the uncertainty around Brexit continues to impact our members and the businesses they advise. This is the busiest time of year for companies in terms of financial reporting and planning for the year ahead.

“As 29 March looms large, contingency planning is no longer a theoretical exercise, businesses can’t kick the can down the road. They have to make decisions now about jobs, stock levels and supply chains, incurring significant and possibly unnecessary cost.

“We need our parliamentarians to listen to the real concerns of business and find a way forward that avoids a disorderly exit from the EU and provides some much needed clarity,” he added.