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%) 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% raising this as a priority. Meanwhile, only 7% prioritised the stability of sterling.
The current uncertain economic environment is what’s keeping 53% of business leaders awake at night. They are less worried about the stability of the Government (15%), foreign worker rights (8%) or a weak sterling (1%).
85% believe 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 feel they’ve lost their way and will be in for a shock and a 27% feel they lack preparedness for the negotiations. Only 5% 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 majority (54%) of businesses reported that their hiring plans have been largely unaffected this year and it is business as usual. Only 2% are now proactively reducing their exposure to EU-nationals in the coming months while 6% are now reluctant to hire EU nationals.