29% of UK businesses will relocate due to Brexit uncertainty

Brexit GFK
// Research from the IoD found that nearly a third of businesses have or will relocate
// 11% of business have already relocated operations outside the UK
// Companies are “accelerating” their preparation for a no-deal Brexit

Nearly a third of businesses have or are planning to relocate their operations outside of the UK due to concerns over the “unavoidable disruption” of Brexit.

According to new research by the Institute of Directors (IoD), 29 per cent of British firms have either already moved part of their business outside of the UK or are drawing up plans to do so.

In a survey of more than 1200 companies, the IoD found that more 11 per cent of companies had already relocated operations outside of the UK in preparation for a potential no-deal scenario.

A further five per cent were planning to relocate as a direct response to Brexit, while 13 per cent said they were “actively considering” relocation.

The majority it companies who were found to be planning a relocation were eyeing office space within the EU.

“We can no more ignore the real consequences of delay and confusion than business leaders can ignore the hard choices that they face in protecting their companies,” IoD interim director general Edwin Morgan said.

“Change is a necessary and often positive part of doing business, but the unavoidable disruption and increased trade barriers that no deal would bring are entirely unproductive.

“While the actions of big companies have been making headlines, these figures suggest that smaller enterprises are increasingly considering taking the serious step of moving some operations abroad.

“For these firms, typically with tighter resources, to be thinking about such a costly course of action makes clear the precarious position they are in.”

Many businesses have cited the lack of clarity from the government and growing uncertainty as key reasons for their relocation.

The news comes as some of the UK’s largest retailers including M&S and Tesco have begun stockpiling long-life goods, while Pets at Home pledged £8 million towards stockpiling pet food and The Entertainer has amassed 100 container loads of toys.

Head of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Carolyn Fairbairn added: “I don’t think there will be a single business this morning who is stopping or halting their no-deal planning.”

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