New research from business adviser Grant Thornton finds that 19% of North West mid-market business leaders (polled over the first two weeks of December) expect Brexit to positively impact their business in the next six months, while 28% don’t expect it to impact them at all.
With the rapidly approaching transition deadline and the continuing threat of no deal scenario, 76% of North West mid-market business leaders feel either very or fairly confident in their preparations for the upcoming changes in 2021.
For the next six months, mid-market business leaders are more immediately concerned about the negative impact of ongoing COVID-19 related restrictions to trade and global travel, with nearly 60% saying further lockdown restrictions would be bad for their business, versus 18% for Brexit.
The biggest Brexit related worry for mid-market business leaders in the region was legal and regulatory changes (24%), closely followed by tax and customs changes (23%) and then people-related concerns such as recruitment and mobility.
Carl Williams, North West managing partner, said: “There is a consensus in our region that a deal is preferable to a disorderly exit. Businesses in the North West are resilient and adaptable but crave certainty and what’s really important now is getting out information about the new arrangements – whatever they are. The government is running a high profile Time is Running Out, campaign asking businesses to prepare. That’s fine as far as it goes, but not all the detailed information is available. The impacts will be felt in a wide range of ways, hitting different sectors, in different ways over the coming months.
“All business leaders have spent 2020 fighting the more immediate threats presented by the global pandemic. We see from the data that the big definable problems, such as further restrictions in terms of workplace safety, travel restrictions, people productivity, and looming regulatory changes, are higher up the mid-market leader’s list of potential threats than Brexit.”