Most Business Leaders Prioritise Trade for Brexit Negotiations

Uncertain economic environment troubles entrepreneurs, Government “undercooked” to represent business

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MarketInvoice, the business finance company, conducted a wide ranging survey of UK businesses, seeking their views on Brexit, the role of Government and finance.

The top priority (58 percent) for UK business leaders as part of the Brexit negotiations is to have the right trade arrangements with the EU to ensure a stable trading environment. This is three times more important than having access to EU workers, with only 18 percent raising this as a priority. Meanwhile, only 7 percent prioritised the stability of sterling.

The current uncertain economic environment is what’s keeping more than half (53 percent) of UK business leaders awake at night. They are less worried about the stability of the Government (15 percent), foreign worker rights (8 percent) or a weak sterling (1 percent).

More business leaders (85 percent) now believe that the Government is tuned into the voice of business since March 2017, when Article 50 was triggered. However, they are not confident or convinced that the negotiating team will defend the interests of business.

A quarter (27 percent) feel they’ve lost their way and will be in for a shock and a further quarter (27 percent) feel they lack preparedness for the negotiations. Only 5 percent feel that David Davis is doing a great job.

Anil Stocker, CEO and co-founder of MarketInvoice commented: “Business leaders are clearly focussed on ensuring they are prepared to do business before worrying about people issues. Anecdotal feedback from this survey is that businesses in the UK are getting on with it but are clearly unsettled which doesn’t make for a healthy business environment.

“The good news is that businesses, finally, feel that their voices are being heard by Government but are not inspired with confidence with the negotiating efforts. Could the adoption of the business council at Downing Street make a difference?”

The majority (54 percent) of businesses reported that their hiring plans have been largely unaffected this year and it is business as usual. Only 2 percent are now proactively reducing their exposure to EU-nationals in the coming months while more (6 percent) are now reluctant to hire EU nationals.

More than a third (38 percent) of businesses feel they will face a cash squeeze going into the next six months. The majority would turn to invoice finance (35 percent) then bank overdrafts (30 percent) for additional funding whilst only 6 percent would use a personal credit card.

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