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Most SMEs have made no plans for Brexit

Posted on: 01/02/2019

A pro-business deal reached with the EU will be in the interest of small businesses in both the UK and the EU. With Brexit negotiations continuing to be dynamic and fast moving, it’s important that small businesses are prepared for any outcome, including a no-deal scenario.

There are 5.6 million small businesses in the UK; these businesses employ 16.3 million people which is 60% of all private sector employment in the UK. The combined annual turnover for SMEs account for 52% of all private sector turnover. Worryingly, new surveys find that most of these businesses have done nothing to prepare for Brexit.

A no-deal (with no transition period) is the most disruptive scenario for businesses in the UK. In this scenario the UK will leave the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement on March 29 2019. A no-deal Brexit would place the UK outside of the EU Custom Union and the Single Market, making the impact on the small business community significant. With a no-deal scenario we would revert to WTO rules from March 30th 2019.

With the day on which the UK exits the EU fast approaching, the responsibly to help the smaller businesses here in the UK is critical.

20% of small businesses have proactively begun to prepare for Brexit, whilst the other 80% have decided to ‘wait and see’ and need guidance and support.

Exemplas are leading a consortium to deliver the Hertfordshire Growth Hub contract, creating a strengthened offer for SMEs helping to drive productivity in the county of Hertfordshire.

As part of our commitment to supporting SMEs, The Hertfordshire Growth Hub has created a resource page full of useful information and links for small businesses that want to prepare for the UK leaving the EU.

FSB have said: A good continuity plan, tailored to a business’s individual circumstances is likely to contain a mixture of:

  • Preventative measures – actions which aim to prevent a risk materialising;
  • Limiting measures – attempts to minimise the impact of a risk once it has materialised;
  • Recovery measures – actions that allow flexibility in the face of the impact and help a business start operating again or scale-back-up its operations after the problem has been neutralised or at least controlled.

FSB National Chairman, Mike Cherry, said: “At this stage, it is understandable that some small businesses haven’t starting preparing as they aren’t actually aware of what they are planning for. What we need now is the Government to work with the small business community to ensure that they are adequately prepared and supported if a no deal Brexit becomes a more likely outcome in the coming weeks.”

The Hertfordshire Growth Hub has been asked to conduct a survey for the UK Government in relation to their preparations for Brexit. The results will be collated and fed back to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Find out more about the work we do in the public sector to support UK SMEs.

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