50% of the UK’s small businesses favour soft Brexit

Just 28% of business leaders surveyed say they feel confident in the government’s ability to protect them from the impact of Brexit

50% of the UK’s small businesses have revealed that they are in favour of a ‘soft Brexit’, in which the UK retains access to the single market in return for a number of concessions, according to research from CitySprint.

Only 35% of respondents claimed to support a ‘hard Brexit’, where the UK loses access to the single market, with 15% unsure which option was preferable. Additionally, just 28% said they feel confident in the government’s ability to protect them from the impact of Brexit.

31% stated that their biggest concern over the triggering of Article 50 was their inability to plan ahead, followed by potential damage to their customer base (26%) and the difficulty of doing business in international markets (24%).

The research also found that the government is not doing enough to inform businesses, with 79% saying they have not been given enough information or none at all.

When asked what support they’d like to help tackle uncertain times ahead, cutting taxes was by far the most popular measure (49%), followed by the establishment of a fund to support small businesses (36%) and the rolling back of austerity measures (34%). Just 13% said they didn’t think the government needed to take any action.

Nevertheless, 82% of those surveyed claimed their business is in the same or better shape than a year ago and 75% that they are more or equally confident about the future of their business than 12 months ago. However, since July this year, Brexit has increased from the fourth biggest barrier to success to the first –according to 34% of business leaders.

Patrick Gallagher, CEO of CitySprint, commented: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and have worked hard over the last decade to adapt and weather its economic ups and downs.

“Undoubtedly they will rise to whatever challenges lie ahead, but our survey shows that small business leaders are crying out for more support, information and reassurance from the government to help them continue to do what they do best: keeping the country moving.”

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