Around half of UK SMEs believe that Brexit has had a negative impact on the UK’s society as a whole awhile 64 per cent believe that it has negatively influenced the UK economy.
Moreover, one in four said Brexit has affected their business directly, according to new data shared with City A.M. this weekend.
Cloud accounting provider FreeAgent found that over half of businesses experienced shrinking customer bases, while 43 per cent were impacted by supply chain issues and found it harder to get cost effective supplies or produce for their business.
Meanwhile, two in five of SMEs said costs had increased since Brexit, particularly to import goods, while 16 per cent suffered a talent shortage as they are finding it harder to recruit staff.
“Without doubt, Brexit has had a drastic impact on all businesses – large or small. However, the research emphasises how the challenges presented by Brexit are now being felt more so by UK SMEs,” commented Roan Lavery, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent.
Lavery told City A.M. this weekend that “leaving the EU has presented significant bottlenecks to the survival of these businesses including both supply chain issues, increased red tape and higher costs.”
So, how do SME owners feel about Brexit?
Nearly one in five SMEs (19 per cent) have considered closing their business during Brexit and one in five also did not think their business would survive Brexit.
Even now, nearly half (46 per cent) of SME business owners are worried about the future of their business. This worry increases for younger business owners, with 57 per cent of 18-34 year old SME owners concerned about the future of their business
In addition, over half believe that Brexit has a greater negative impact on SMEs than it had on large businesses while 68 per cent of SME owners believe that Brexit has led to a more divided United Kingdom.
SME owners are more likely to agree with this statement if they also said that Brexit had a negative impact on the UK economy and the society as a whole where it rises to 79 per cent and 85 per cent respectively). This is also the case for SME owners who are worried about the future of their business (81 per cent).
“The onus rests on the government to support these businesses, which make a significant contribution to the wider economy. Many SMEs are still tackling uncertain times as we as a society emerge from a pandemic stricken world,” Lavery said.
“In light of this and the concerns expressed by SME businesses in this research, government support is clearly still needed to put these worries at bay,” he concluded.