Scottish businesses ‘hostile to Brexit’ as two thirds expect no benefits

Scottish businesses 'hostile to Brexit' as two thirds expect no benefits

Graeme Finnie

Scottish businesses owners remain “hostile to the idea of Brexit”, accountants and financial advisers French Duncan have said after a new survey showed two thirds of Scottish businesses don’t believe they will benefit from Brexit.

Just over eight per cent of businesses said they thought their business would benefit from Brexit, while a quarter didn’t know.

Nearly two thirds (58.3 per cent) said they had no contingency plans in place for Brexit, with 37.5 per cent stating that they anticipate recruitment challenges after Brexit.

The surveyed companies covered a diverse range of sectors from food and drink, charities, oil and gas, the whisky industry, retail, legal, logistics, finance, and property.

The survey comes a day after Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “less than half of businesses “are prepared for the a no-deal Brexit.

Graeme Finnie, managing partner at French Duncan, said: “With just months to go before the UK leaves the EU the mood among Scottish business owners is still quite hostile to the idea of Brexit. There are serious concerns about the financial impact of Brexit on the economy and the way in which business will operate after next March.

“That two thirds stated they do not have contingency plans in place highlights the continuing uncertainty that many feel when confronted with the issues which Brexit raises. There appears to be almost a despairing attitude when business owners think about the impact Brexit will have on them and the wider economy. One delegate at a recent seminar simply declared that Brexit ‘should be stopped’.”

He added: “It is vital that the uncertainty over Brexit ends if the process itself is not to damage the economy. It is already having a negative impact on investment and it seems that many Scottish business owners have had enough.

“They want clarity, assurance and greater understanding of how Brexit will affect their business. Until they have that they are going to continue to feel unsure of what the whole process will mean for them and their business and it will restrict future investment until a stronger idea of how Brexit will work emerges.”

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