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SMEs brace themselves for long-term impact of Brexit vote

by LLB Reporter
21st Sep 16 9:24 am

New figures show

SMEs are actively having to change their forward planning as a result of the Brexit vote, new findings from Close Brothers’ quarterly Business Barometer show.

The research shows that two thirds (65%) of UK SMEs have had to change, or are in the process of changing their plans, which range from hiring to investing in growth opportunities.

While the majority of SMEs surveyed have felt no impact to business levels yet as a result of Brexit, many are looking ahead and revaluating their hiring and training plans as a consequence of the historic vote.

Nearly one in five (18%) SMEs that are changing their business plans state that they will now be looking to invest in training and skills for their workforce, as they adapt to changing economic and operating conditions. This is twice as many as the number (9%) who now no longer plan to hire or invest in skills at all.  

Despite the increased investment in the workforce for small business, many are changing their approach to hiring. With uncertainty hanging over the future status of EU nationals, a quarter (23%) of UK SMEs who have changed their plans said they now plan to only hire UK nationals in their business.

Adrian Sainsbury, chief executive of Close Brothers Commercial Division said:“The short-term economic impact of the UK’s decision to leave the EU does not so far seem to be as severe as first feared. However, it will be some time before the terms of Brexit, and the longer term economic consequences, will be known to UK business owners. Despite this uncertainty, SMEs have not stood still. Many have proved their agility and have already introduced contingency plans, refined their business strategy, or indeed invested to take advantage of newfound post-referendum opportunities. It is particularly encouraging to see many are looking to invest in their workforce through increased training and internships to unlock their potential.

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