UK businesses ‘already feeling Brexit pain’

More than half of the UK’s biggest companies report that last June’s referendum vote to leave the European Union (EU) is already having a negative impact on their business.

Research firm Ipsos Mori polled 114 chairmen, chief executive officers (CEOs), managing directors and finance chiefs from the UK’s largest 500 firms. It reports that 58% said the Brexit vote was already having a negative impact on their firm and only 11% said it had helped business.

Two in three business leaders predict that their business situation will be more negative once Britain leaves the EU, although they are less pessimistic in the longer term: 32% predict a positive impact on their business in five years’ time and 45% expect to feel a negative impact.

The survey also found that many are particularly worried about losing access to skilled workers.

Ipsos Mori’s CEO, Ben Page, said that the results show that businesses are already feeling the pain of the economic upheaval of leaving the EU. “According to respondents there is no sign that this is likely to ease this year, with two thirds saying they thought their business situation would get worse in the next 12 months,” he added.

Asked what UK’s priorities should be in the Brexit negotiations, the respondents cited:

  • Movement/access of skilled labour (54%).
  • Securing free trade/single market (47%).
  • Passporting rights (16%).
  • Controlled/clarity on immigration (13%).
  • Continuing being a trading partner with Europe (9%).
  • Tariff agreement (9%).

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