FSB warns Government not doing enough to support SMEs through Brexit

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The Government is not doing enough to support small businesses through Brexit says the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). Anna Tobin reports

The FSB is warning that small businesses need more Government support if they are to adequately prepare for a no-deal Brexit on 31 October. The FSB’s research shows that 39% of small firms believe a no-deal scenario will negatively impact them and only one in five have planned or prepared for anticipated issues; while 63% don’t think they are able to plan.

The FSB research shows that the average cost for businesses that have prepared is around £2,000 and this rises to £3,000 for smaller businesses that export and import. While 31% of prepared small businesses have stockpiled ahead of 31 October and 34% report temporarily or permanently reduced profitability.

“As the risk of a chaotic no-deal Brexit on 31 October remains alive and kicking, it is worrying that many small firms have either not prepared or are finding that they can’t prepare,” highlights Mike Cherry the national chairman of FSB.

“Ongoing uncertainty is to blame for preparations hitting the skids with the picture still not clear as to how the UK will leave the EU on 31 October. Until we get clarity, small firms must prepare for the cliff edge where possible, and make preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

“Preparing for this outcome is coming at a high price though with small firms being hit by an unstable pound and having to shell out money on a potential outcome that has been highly disruptive, remains uncertain and is unwanted. Government must use what little time is left before 31 October to provide small firms with the support they need to navigate the uncharted and turbulent waters of a no-deal Brexit.

“Raising awareness is important, but not enough. The Government must also turn to meaningful financial support. This is desperately needed and would certainly provide a much needed shot in the arm for those firms that have already spent money preparing. For those firms that can’t prepare, we need broader support including cutting VAT and National Insurance, uprating the £3,000 employment allowance and extending the two year ‘retailers’ business rates discount of 33 per cent, to a wider range of smaller businesses.”

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