Just 6 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses say that the Government is listening to their concerns about Brexit.
Of 653 businesses polled by accountancy firm Moore Stephens, 612 said they felt their views on Brexit were being ignored.
Moore Stephens said that this highlights just how much work the Government must do to convince the SME community that the deal to exit the European Union protects the interests of UK businesses.
More than half of owner-managed businesses also said that their single biggest concern for 2018 was how Brexit negotiations will affect them – far ahead of other issues such as skills shortages (41 per cent), cyber attacks (29 per cent) and increased regulation (28 per cent).
When asked about their specific Brexit-related worries, 38 per cent of businesses said that the introduction of trade tariffs was their biggest concern, 30 per cent fear a loss of EU labour, while 23 per cent are concerned about loss of European customers. Only 33 per cent said that they had no concerns around Brexit.
“Whilst banks and other big businesses have the influence to lobby the Government for their own special Brexit clauses, there are concerns that small businesses will be forgotten about,” said Mark Lamb, a partner at Moore Stephens.
“Business owners are hugely concerned about what Brexit might mean for them. The Government must take their needs seriously when negotiating the exit deal.
“Brexit could potentially impact on an enormous number of issues affecting owner-managed businesses in the UK, from import and export costs, to access to labour, and grants and subsidies. Businesses have been given very little clarity so far on what effect Brexit might have on any of these issues.
“Businesses thrive on certainty – it allows them to invest, scale up, take on more orders and expand their workforces. If the Government does not give them clear indications of what they can expect once the UK has left the European Union, it will be very difficult for many of them to invest in their growth.”
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