Ninety-four per cent of small-to-medium sized businesses (SMEs) believe the government has ignored their concerns over Brexit.
According to new research from accountancy firm Moore Stephens, the outcome of Brexit negotiations is the key concern for more than half of owner-managed businesses – many of which are retailers.
Other concerns like skills shortages and cyber attacks came significantly below Brexit, with 41 per cent and 29 per cent citing it as their key concerns for 2018 respectively.
More specifically, 38 per cent of SMEs said the introduction of trade tariffs after Brexit was their main concern, while 30 per cent cited loss of labour and 23 per cent said they were most afraid of losing European customers.
“Whilst banks and other big businesses have the influence to lobby the Government for their own special Brexit clauses, there are concerns that small businesses will be forgotten about,” Moore Stephens’ partner Mark Lamb said.
“Business owners are hugely concerned about what Brexit might mean for them. The government must take their needs seriously when negotiating the exit deal.
“Brexit could potentially impact on an enormous number of issues affecting owner-managed businesses in the UK, from import and export costs, to access to labour, and grants and subsidies. Businesses have been given very little clarity so far on what effect Brexit might have on any of these issues.
“Businesses thrive on certainty – it allows them to invest, scale up, take on more orders and expand their workforces.
“If the Government does not give them clear indications of what they can expect once the UK has left the European Union, it will be very difficult for many of them to invest in their growth.”