One year on since Article 50 was triggered, the business community has really been left in limbo while the Government continues its Brexit discussions. While some progress has been made in terms of the transition agreement, the uncertainty around the future of our global position has brought businesses’ focus back home on some fundamental gaps in the UK economy.
BDO’s research of nearly 360 ambitious mid-sized businesses revealed three quarters of UK mid-sized businesses say no clearer picture is emerging of UK/EU relationship. This ongoing uncertainty around Britain’s Brexit deal with the EU has dampened investment as almost one third (29%) of mid-sized companies said they had pressed the pause button on long-term investment plans.
To sustain their growing contribution to the UK economy, these businesses have called for a focus on domestic policies while the Government continues its international negotiations. When asked which policy would best help their businesses grow now and in a post-Brexit future, almost half (46%) of the mid-sized firms surveyed named tackling the UK skills crisis as the number one priority.
As well as boosting the skills of the UK’s workforce, 41% of mid-sized companies called for government to help make doing business at home easier by simplifying the UK tax system.
Creating the right environment for businesses and local communities across the UK to flourish was a priority for 39% of these businesses as they called for more investment in smart physical and digital infrastructure.
The contribution of the UK’s thriving mid-sized businesses to our national economy – and their resilience at times of disruption – is clear and profound. Over two thirds (69%) of mid-sized companies said, despite long-term uncertainty, they’re feeling confident about achieving their growth ambitions this financial year. A third (35%) are expecting growth of more than 5%.
As we start the one-year Brexit countdown, it’s vital that the Government focuses on creating a simple and stable environment that allows these companies to continue to drive growth for the UK and ensure we remain a strong nation to do business with.
Take a look at our Brexit: one year on, one year to go poll results.
Paul Eagland is Managing Partner at BDO.