Most British businesses brush off Brexit vote

The majority of UK businesses say they have yet to feel any financial impact – positive or negative – from the June 23 Brexit vote.

According to new research by insolvency and restructuring trade body, R3, three-in-four (74%) British businesses have not been affected by the decision to leave the EU.

However, 16% of all businesses, equivalent to 283,000 businesses, say the vote has already had a negative financial impact on them, compared to just 5% of businesses (85,000) who say the outcome of the referendum has had a positive financial impact.

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The figures are from a survey of key decision-makers at a representative sample of 500 UK businesses by market research firm BDRC and R3.

Andrew Tate, president of R3, said: “The immediate shock of the referendum result was much briefer than expected, and many businesses – and importantly, consumers – have adopted a business as usual approach since then.”

“The UK is, of course, still a member of the EU, so the impact of the vote itself will be limited for the time being. When we find out what Brexit actually means, things might begin to change,” he added.

“That said, Brexit will be causing genuine problems for a significant minority of companies, and it will be benefitting others. The main reason for this is the sharp fall in the value of the pound, importers will have been hurt, while exporters may have seen an increase in demand for their products. Uncertainty over the future of the UK-EU relationship may put some important deals on hold, at least temporarily.”

The businesses most likely to say they have seen a negative financial impact from the referendum result are large companies employing 251 or more people.

Nearly a quarter (23%) of large companies say they have seen a negative financial impact from the referendum result, while just 2% say they have experienced a positive impact.

“Larger businesses have much more of a direct exposure to Europe or are much more likely to import materials than the UK’s smaller businesses. They will bear the immediate brunt of any Brexit effect, whether positive or negative,” Tate said.

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