Only 14% of small businesses have begun planning for Brexit, finds new research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). Anna Tobin reports
The FSB report found that only one in seven small business have begun planning for Brexit. This is despite the fact almost half (48%) of the small businesses questioned were found to believe that a no-deal Brexit will have a negative effect on their business. This rises to 66% for those small firms that trade with the EU and to 61% for those that employ a staff member from the EU. A tenth of businesses said that they believe that a no-deal Brexit will have a positive impact on their business.
The research also questioned the actions that those small firms, who will be impacted by Brexit, intend to take between now and when the UK leaves the EU. In preparation for a no-deal Brexit, 35% of small businesses said that they would postpone major business decisions or innovations, while around one in five (21%) said that they would cut staff or expenditure.
“Looking at this research it is obvious that our small firms are not prepared or ready for a chaotic no-deal Brexit and the impact that it will have on their businesses,” says FSB National Chairman, Mike Cherry.
“If you sell your products to the EU, buy goods from the EU or if your business relies on staff from the EU, you now see this outcome as a clear and present threat to your business.
“It is deeply troubling that the prospect of a no deal Brexit is seeing many small firms shelving business decisions, pausing investment and more drastically, thinking about cutting staff. These businesses are the growth engines of the UK economy and it is critical that the Government listens to their worries.
“At this stage, it is understandable that some small businesses haven’t started preparing as they aren’t actually aware of what they are planning for. What we need now is the Government to work with the small business community to ensure that they are adequately prepared and supported if a no-deal Brexit becomes a more likely outcome in the coming weeks.
“The concern is that with only six months to go before exit day, we are now in a race against the clock to avoid a situation where we crash out of the EU causing significant damage to our smallest businesses. This must be avoided at all costs.”