Two thirds of British businesses do not see Brexit as a major cause for concern to the economy
- Just 37 percent of businesses cited Brexit uncertainty among their top concerns
- Small and medium-sized firms employ around 16 million people alone in the UK
- Several SME owners spoke out to say they are not worried about Brexit impact
The majority of British businesses do not see Brexit as a major cause for concern, according to a report by the Bank of England.
Just 37 per cent of bosses said leaving the European Union was one of the top three sources of uncertainty for their business.
The Bank also reported a rise in retail sales, boosted by demand for summer clothes and shoes, and an increase in factory output amid ‘robust’ growth in exports.
The findings further undermine claims by big business and the pro-Brussels CBI that Brexit anxiety among companies was holding back the economy.
That means 63 per cent, or nearly two thirds, do not see Brexit as a major worry, up from 59 per cent 12 months ago.
‘Relative to a year earlier, slightly fewer firms saw Brexit as an important source of uncertainty, although these changes have been modest,’ the report said.
Small and medium-sized firms account for 99.9 per cent of private businesses in the UK and employ 16 million people, or 60 per cent of the private workforce.
Reuben Singh, 41, chief executive of telephone answering service alldayPA and private equity group Isher Capital, said: ‘Leaving the EU or staying in the EU won’t make that much difference to the lifeblood of the British economy which is small business.
‘I think this is an absolutely amazing time for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Anything that we can export is very, very good value and more people from overseas are pumping money into the economy. There are exciting times ahead and entrepreneurs thrive on excitement.’
Mr Singh, who previously set up retail chain Miss Attitude, added: ‘We are still going to trade with Europe. The Germans, French and Italians have things we want to buy and we have things they want to buy.’
Prominent Brexit supporter Tim Martin, founder and chairman of pub chain Wetherspoon, said: ‘There is a split in business. It is the establishment versus the entrepreneurs.
‘The establishment got it wrong about the ERM [European Exchange Rate Mechanism], got it wrong about the euro, and got it wrong in saying there would be an immediate downturn after the referendum. This is about judgment and track record and no track record is worse than the CBI’s.’
Small business owner Guy Schanschieff, who runs reusable nappy firm Bambino Mio with his wife Jo, brushed off concerns about Brexit. The 52-year-old, who employs 50 staff and sells nappies in the UK, as well as Germany, France and Spain, plus the US, Australia and the Middle East, said: ‘As a company we are growing very, very fast and exports are massive for us. We see opportunities outside the EU that better trade deals would give us.’
The Bank also found a slim majority of firms did not expect Brexit to hit sales. While 49 per cent of bosses expected sales to fall, 36 per cent said there would be little change and 15 per cent said sales would rise. The Bank of England findings are based on a survey of chief financial officers from 4,000 small, medium and large UK companies across a broad range of industries.
The survey found 8 per cent of finance bosses thought Brexit was the largest source of uncertainty for their business while 29 per cent said it was one of the top three.
By contrast, 46 per cent said leaving the EU was one of many sources of uncertainty, suggesting firms are worried about a host of other things aside from Brexit, while 17 per cent said it was not an issue at all.
John Longworth, former head of the British Chambers of Commerce and now co-chairman of Leave Means Leave, said: ‘The vast majority of business, the silent majority of SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises], of entrepreneurs and private businesses will benefit greatly from Brexit and are upbeat, optimistic and looking forward to free trade, low tax, sensible regulation which will follow us leaving the EU.’
Meanwhile, JCB yesterday unveiled plans to invest more than £50million in a new plant in Staffordshire, doubling production of cabs used on its machines.
In a vote of confidence in Brexit Britain, the company best known for its bright yellow diggers is building a state-of-the-art factory next to two existing plants in Uttoxeter. The investment will create more than 200 jobs by 2022.
June 29th, 2018: Daily Mail