The majority (75 per cent) of the UK’s growth businesses would prefer to move forward with Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal than face further political upheaval, according to a poll conducted by BGF, the most active investor in the UK.
Launched this week, the exclusive poll represents the views of almost 200 CEOs and Chairs of small to mid-sized business. These companies are all headquartered in the UK and pursuing expansion plans in 2019.
The results found:
- Support for Theresa May’s deal is not universal. 46.8% of respondents support the current deal, while 28.4% do not and 24.7% are uncertain.
- But one thing is clear – no deal is not a good outcome. 75% prefer May’s deal to no deal; 14% said they would prefer no deal and 11% are unsure.
- There is no appetite for a general election. 85% of respondents are not in favour of a general election; 8% are in favour and 7% are unsure.
- In line with the general population, business leaders are divided over whether they want a second referendum. 50% are in favour of a second referendum; 45% are not in favour and 5% are unsure.
Stephen Welton, CEO of BGF, said: “While there is mixed support for May’s deal, overwhelmingly, the view is that no deal is not a good outcome. If there is a message here, it is that it is better to have momentum around the deal that’s on the table, rather than returning to the drawing board – unless a credible Plan ‘B’ is truly deliverable before the end of next March.
“There is a real risk of a silent but significant slowdown as confidence in the UK ebbs, and companies put their investment plans on hold. Moving quickly to a more predictable landscape at the same time as safeguarding a healthy level of funding should be the two immediate priorities in regard to business.
“Undoubtedly a nervousness exists, and we need to ensure that motivated companies are not forced to down tools on their ambitions because of a lack of investment.
“BGF on average has invested in one business per week in 2018 and over £400m already, and we intend to maintain that momentum. We are now actively exploring ways in which we could increase our commitment to funding and supporting even more businesses in a post-Brexit Britain.”
Neil Inskip, BGF investor in the North West added: Despite the current political climate, the businesses we meet and invest in are by nature entrepreneurial and adept at dealing with change. However, the survey shows they do want to see a line drawn so they are able to get on with growing their business. We work with a very proactive portfolio and these business owners are continuing to spot opportunities for growth within their markets.”