Increase in Numbers of Businesses Preparing For Brexit
The Government has welcomed survey findings that show 44% of businesses that are strongly impacted by Brexit have a plan in place, and urged those without a plan to urgently put one in place. With a sample size of 546 SMEs, the survey is the third in a series on the impact of Brexit on small business owners, carried out by Behaviour & Attitudes on behalf of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.
The results follow recent surveys of clients of Enterprise Ireland and Bord Bia, which show that 85% of Enterprise Ireland clients have taken Brexit actions and 74% of Bord Bia clients have made progress in preparing for Brexit.
Welcoming the survey findings Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD said: “This latest survey shows a marked increase in the number of impacted businesses preparing for change, which is both encouraging and welcome. With six months to go to Brexit, many businesses are taking the first important steps of gathering information and developing contingency plans. Many others are already taking actions with their suppliers and customers to build resilience, whatever the outcome of Brexit negotiations.
“Without a doubt, the figures are going in the right direction but we need to see an acceleration in contingency planning in the coming months. Notwithstanding the uncertainty that comes with Brexit, it is crucial that affected businesses without a plan urgently put one in place. The Government is negotiating for the best but preparing for the worst, and I would urge businesses to do the same.”
28% of all businesses surveyed report having a Brexit plan in place – an increase compared to the previous survey in September 2017 when the figure stood at 16%. This 28% figure increases for those businesses where the impact is the greatest: 41% of medium sized businesses; 39% for businesses with imports or exports from the UK; 44% for those businesses who say they are most impacted (up from 17% in the previous survey). 56% of SMEs are responding that Brexit is not impacting on their business, compared 48% in the last survey.
Brexit awareness is also on the rise. 42% of those surveyed have engaged with some form of Brexit information resources. This includes engaging with their business representative bodies, attending a Brexit roadshow or information session or availing of Brexit supports provided by State bodies. 13% have taken some mitigating action to address their Brexit challenges, which includes changing the source of raw materials and market diversification.
Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD highlighted the wide range of supports on offer through the Government to help businesses with their contingency planning: “We know the UK’s decision to leave the EU from March 2019 will entail changes to our trading arrangements and may entail new regulatory and other compliance requirements for importers and exporters in particular. Government Departments, enterprise agencies and regulatory bodies all have dedicated resources available to help business identify the key risk areas for business and on the practical preparatory actions that can be taken over the coming months.”
Minister Humphreys added: “My message to businesses is this: the Government is here to help. My Department’s agencies continue to provide much-needed financial support and guidance to businesses as they grapple with the effects of Brexit. In March this year, I also launched the €300 million Brexit Loan Scheme with Minister Creed, the SBCI, the EIB, the EIF and the European Commission to provide affordable working capital to eligible businesses impacted by Brexit. We are now working on developing an Investment Loan Scheme, which would offer long term loans to businesses to help them strategically invest in a post-Brexit environment.”
Please see the DBEI website for the range of Brexit supports available to businesses.