No Brexit effect on their business say UK managers – but watch out for the broader economy

Jasper Jolly
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Prime Minister Theresa May has been under pressure to give details of the negotiation with the EU (Source: Getty)

British managers are confident about their prospects for the next year, but think Brexit is going to dent the UK economy over the course of 2017, according to a poll.

More than half of managers think their own business has a positive outlook for the next year, compared to only a quarter who think they will be negatively affected in the next 12 months, according to the survey of over 1,000 UK managers by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

However, two-thirds of managers think uncertainty as the UK negotiates its exit from the EU will harm the economy over the course of the next year, while 49 per cent think Brexit will have a long-term impact on the economy.

Read more: Editor's notes: Brexit has damaged economists, not the economy

The findings reflect similar survey findings which have tended in recent months to find businesses confident in their own prospects, but foreseeing broader economic dangers.

Economic data has remained mostly positive since the EU referendum, defying predictions of an immediate recession if the UK voted to leave. However, the process of leaving the EU – starting with the invocation of Article 50, triggering a two-year deadline – is expected to have a significant impact on business confidence.

Businesses have been clamouring for clarity as to what they can expect from the government’s negotiations, with the Prime Minister Theresa May proposing a transitional deal to ensure UK industry does not fall off a “cliff edge”.

Read more: Resilient British consumers grow more confident but economy worries remain

In the face of uncertainty, almost three-quarters of managers surveyed think Brexit makes skills investment more important, with 47 per cent fully supporting the apprenticeship levy which will come into operation in April.

The stagnation in productivity has led to fears since well before the referendum that Britain is falling behind other developed nations. Investment in skills is understood to boost productivity in the long term.

Ann Francke, CMI chief executive, said: “Although it’s clear that there are significant challenges posed by the UK’s decision to Brexit, as a country we need to move forward and harness pragmatic positivity.

“UK business will play a vital role in making this a success. In 2017 we have an opportunity to stand together and tackle longstanding issues like the productivity gap,” she added.

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