Ongoing uncertainty a major concern for UK businesses

UK small businesses are bracing themselves for a prolonged period of uncertainty as government Brexit negotiations continue to prove fruitless.

A third of SMEs said they expect a hard Brexit deal, according to the SME Confidence Tracker from Bibby Financial Services, while only one in five expect the matter to be concluded by March 2019.

That leaves the majority of businesses facing continued uncertainty, especially as only 8% of business owners questioned don’t think Brexit will go ahead.

Some 71% of businesses are adamant it will now happen yet 51% are expecting a long transitional period before the UK can formerly leave the European Union.

This uncertainty makes it very difficult to plan effectively, especially with businesses unsure of what the exact outcome will mean for them.

Whereas around 36% of firms are expecting a soft Brexit that gives them something to work with, a similar proportion are expecting few favours from a hard Brexit deal.

As growth plans stall, businesses need to ensure that they have adequate finances to overcome any potential issues that may arise when the process is finally completed.

Imports and exports, sales and product development processes are among the aspects of business that could be affected, depending on what type of deal is reached.

Small businesses that import have already seen their costs rise as a result of fluctuating currencies, before other issues such as late payments and rising business rates are considered.

Around a quarter of SMEs say the uncertainty is limiting investment, although a range of refinancing possibilities are available, including a host of alternative finance options to aid growth.

Suitable for both short and long term funding, it can cover essential business requirements and help to reduce the risk of a business requiring administrative methods or being declared insolvent.

By Phil Smith


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