7 out of 10 South East businesses say they have yet to feel any financial impact – positive or negative – from the June vote to leave the EU, according to new research by the insolvency and restructuring trade body, R3.
However, 20% of South East businesses, equivalent to 55,000 businesses, say the vote has already had a negative financial impact on them, compared to just 9% of businesses (25,000) who say the outcome of the referendum has had a positive financial impact.
The figures are from a survey of key decision-makers at a representative sample of 500 UK businesses by market research firm BDRC and R3.
Andrew Watling, chairman of Southern Committee of R3 and partner at Quantuma in Southampton, says:
“The immediate shock of the referendum result was much briefer than expected, and many businesses – and importantly, consumers – have adopted a business as usual approach since then.
“The UK is, of course, still a member of the EU, so the impact of the vote itself will be limited for the time being. When we find out what Brexit actually means, things might begin to change.
“In the short-term at least, there are likely to be one or two instances of ‘Brexit’ being used as a bit of a convenient excuse by companies when they run into trouble.”
“That said, Brexit will be causing genuine problems for a significant minority of companies, and it will be benefitting others. The main reason for this is the sharp fall in the value of the pound, importers will have been hurt, while exporters may have seen an increase in demand for their products. Uncertainty over the future of the UK-EU relationship may put some important deals on hold, at least temporarily.
“Anecdotally, while our members say they are yet to see any increase in Brexit-related appointments, some have reported an increase in calls from worried business owners looking for advice.
“While a number of recent surveys have reported business confidence falling since the vote, that doesn’t appear to have yet translated into a financial impact for most businesses.”
Across the UK, the businesses most likely to say they have seen a negative financial impact from the referendum result are large companies employing 251 or more people.
23% of large companies (2,000) say they have seen a negative financial impact from the referendum result, while just 2% say they have experienced a positive impact.
“Larger businesses have much more of a direct exposure to Europe or are much more likely to import materials than the UK’s smaller businesses. They will bear the immediate brunt of any Brexit effect, whether positive or negative.”