Thursday 17 December 2020 10:53 am

Mid-market firms optimistic about Brexit impact despite talks dragging

Mid-market businesses are surprisingly chipper about the impact of Brexit on their businesses, a new survey has shown, despite ongoing uncertainty surrounding a trade deal.

A new survey of more than 600 firms found that the majority remain positive.

Only a fifth reckon, Brexit will negatively impact on their business in the next six months, while 31 per cent believe it will not have any impact according to the poll conducted by Grant Thornton.

Read more: Sunak hints Covid schemes could be used to mitigate worst of Brexit disruption

A no-deal Brexit seems increasingly possible as the end of the transition period looms, though background briefings have been more positive in recent days.

Boris Johnson signalled that he is not prepared to give in to EU demands over fisheries and a level playing field.

He sent MPs home for Christmas today despite rumours that they would forfeit their holiday to ratify a deal at the last minute.

But both sides are still working on details, and a narrow path of compromise is believed to exist.

However, business leaders are more concerned about the negative impact of continued Covid related restrictions to trade and global travel. A further 41 per cent have said that further lockdown restrictions would be bad for their business, versus 22 per cent who think Brexit would have a negative impact.

Dave Munton, head of UK Markets and Clients at Grant Thornton, said: “We see from the data that the big definable problems, such as further restrictions in terms of workplace safety, travel restrictions, people productivity, and looming regulatory changes, are higher up the mid-market leader’s list of potential threats than Brexit.”

The UK Chancellor has suggested that his schemes such as the furlough scheme could protect businesses against the double threat of Covid disruption and Brexit turbulence.

He told The Spectator: “For businesses that need liquidity to get through a temporary time, we’ve got very generous… loan programmes for anyone who is having trouble with costs and employment.”