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What does Brexit mean for businesses?

Posted on: 12/03/2019

With less than four weeks to go until the UK leaves the European Union (EU), the topic of Brexit is becoming ever more prevalent in people’s minds. The noise around Britain facing up to one of its biggest and most complex challenges is getting louder and concerns, particularly amongst business owners, about the impact of Brexit are increasing.

There has been significant media coverage about Brexit over the past two years and it has without doubt been challenging to keep up with the decisions being made. But what does all this mean for businesses? The ever-changing Brexit landscape, along with media hype could be confusing and not always helpful to those trying to navigate the topic.

It’s perhaps understandable that 31% of SMEs have not considered the impact of Brexit*. Of those SMEs that have considered Brexit, over half have not taken any actions to address their concerns. This is reflected in the Growth Hub’s engagement with Hertfordshire businesses, that cite not understanding what the impacts and implications could be, as well as not having the confidence to prepare, as contributing factors.

The ICAEW UK Business Confidence Monitor Report for Q1 2019, states that 48% of UK businesses are less confident now compared to the last 12 months†. The report also illustrates that business sentiment has continued to decline and is now at its lowest for nearly a decade, most notably in the East of England.  Brexit is a likely contributing factor, as this region is more reliant on migrant labour than any other region outside of London.

With all these studies, reports and statements being issued, it is imperative that businesses have access to the tools, resources and advice they may need to help inform them about Brexit and to advise them on the preparations they may, or should be making.

Hertfordshire Growth Hub, delivered by an Exemplas led consortium, has created a Brexit resource page, full of useful links, tools and resources to help businesses understand how leaving the UK may affect them and what measures they can put in place to prepare. The resource page provides a digestible way of navigating all the information available about Brexit, including links to the latest Government advice, from employing EU citizens, to European and domestic funding. There are also additional resources and tools including how Brexit may affect individuals, as well as information relating to Brexit and Hertfordshire, such as the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) report which looks at the risks and potential impacts of Brexit within the county.

Through the Growth Hub, businesses are able to provide feedback about their Brexit preparations to Government by completing a short survey. This can be found through the Brexit resource page and all businesses operating in Hertfordshire are encouraged to take part.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has recently cited the Hertfordshire Growth Hub’s page as an example of best practice, in their support to businesses preparing for the EU exit. The Brexit resource page can be accessed by visiting bit.ly/preparingforbrexit

More information about the Hertfordshire Growth Hub and the support services available to businesses in the county can be found by visiting www.hertsgrowthub.com

*ICAEW: www.icaew.com/technical/economy/brexit/preparing-for-brexit

†ICAEW UK business confidence monitor Q1 2019 report: www.icaew.com/-/media/corporate/files/technical/economy/business-confidence-monitor/icaew-bcm-q1-2019.ashx

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