National survey reveals positive business sentiment in the South ahead of Brexit

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Middle market businesses across the South are positive about the medium to long term effects of Brexit, according to a new YouGov survey, the Brexit Monitor, commissioned by leading audit, tax and consulting firm RSM.

The national survey of more than 300 UK mid-market companies with a turnover of between £30-300m across a range of key sectors, also found that 67% of businesses in the South were prepared for exit from the EU.

In total, a third of business leaders in the South said they were strongly positive about the effect of Brexit on the UK economy over the next five years, while 13% expected a weak positive impact. By contrast, 29% said they expected a weak negative impact, while just 12% predicted a strong negative impact.

Elfed Jarvis, RSM’s regional managing partner for the South region said: ‘Middle-market companies contribute over a third of private-sector GDP, revenues and employment, so they’re vital to the UK economy as a whole. These companies appear to be resilient and optimistic. They’re also being proactive with their plans about the future.

‘It would appear, generally, that business leaders across the South remain confident that middle market businesses and the wider UK economy will evolve and adapt to off-set whatever challenges lie ahead, and ultimately emerge from Brexit in a stronger position. It remains to be seen whether this optimism will endure during the course of the negotiations, but the early sentiment we’re seeing is positive.’

In terms of Brexit preparations, 33% of companies in the South reported they had taken measures to increase productivity and efficiency, 29% said they had reviewed the status of EU workers or had increased local recruitment.

19% said they planned to move some operations outside of the UK and 21% would look to establish EU subsidiaries or branches.

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