The Institute of Directors is today calling on the Government to speed up publication of its ‘no deal’ guidance, as a survey of 800 business leaders reveals that less than a third have conducted any Brexit contingency planning.
Half of businesses say they do not intend to draw up plans, with smaller firms more likely to be in this category. Nearly 1 in 2 of these firms say this is because they will only be making adjustments once the future relationship becomes clearer.
A fifth of companies anticipate drawing up plans, but three quarters of these also say they are waiting for more clarity about the future UK-EU relationship first – either on the withdrawal agreement or a new deal with the EU.
At present, only one in ten companies are seriously considering relocation to the EU. But this could rise to over one in five should the negotiations not go well.
Stephen Martin, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said: “Many companies are still unprepared for Brexit, and it’s hard to blame them. When it comes to knowing what to plan for and when, firms have been left in the dark. Trade associations like the IoD are doing their best to fill the information void, but the reality is that many companies feel they can only make changes once there is tangible information about what they are adjusting to.
“As long as no-deal remains a possibility, it is essential that the Government steps up to the plate and provides advice on preparing for such an outcome. We therefore urge them to speed up publication of the technical notices. This should also help make companies more alert to the need to prepare now for all eventualities.
“Any transition period must take account of the fact that many businesses feel they can only adjust once there is clarity about the direction of travel. Given full negotiations on the future relationship can only begin once we have left the EU, both sides should ensure there is a proper implementation period once a new agreement has been concluded. This is after all what would happen following the conclusion of any other trade deal.”