More than three fifths (62%) of people who originally voted to remain in the EU believe there will be favourable outcomes for British businesses following the UK’s decision to leave Europe – according to new consumer research from Hitachi Capital Business Finance.
The findings come at a time when the Government announced a £20million SME Brexit support fund to support small businesses struggling with the impact of Brexit – an issue that more than a quarter of small businesses owners (27%) have admitted keeps them awake at night. The new consumer survey suggests that despite the initial uncertainty, people in the UK are now simply getting on with it and looking for the positive ways to succeed rather than what will hold them back.
The survey asked 2,042 adults to think about the outlook for British businesses after Brexit. Almost four in five (76%) respondents said there would be positive outcomes from leaving the EU for British companies – rising to 81% of those based in London. The most commonly mentioned outcome was the belief that there would be more job creation from UK-based businesses (27%).
Further opportunities included a belief that UK- businesses would become more agile – able to react faster to market opportunities (26%). A further one in four people (25%) believed there would be greater opportunities for inward investment – with more businesses partnering with UK-based suppliers (25%). People also thought companies in the UK would benefit from less regulation and red tape (24%).
|% of consumers (Nat. av)|
|More job creation from UK-based businesses||27%|
|UK businesses will be able to react/respond faster to opportunities||26%|
|Partnering with UK suppliers||25%|
|UK businesses will be able to react/respond faster to crises||24%|
|Regulation will be reduced/be more tailored to the specific needs of British enterprises||24%|
|The UK will be able to tax corporations fairly||23%|
|There will be more focussed funding for the particular needs of British enterprises||23%|
|Large international companies will set up in the UK||20%|
|Competitive advantages over non-UK based businesses||19%|
|Reforms and tax breaks||14%|
|Relaxation of health and safety risk assessments||11%|
|Being able to hire more staff across different countries||7%|
The future looks bright
There was also evidence that this ‘positive thinking’ is focused more on the long-term. When asked to think about life outside of the EU in the next ten years and how businesses would respond, there was a general belief that innovation and technology would help British businesses to flourish.
Overall, more than a quarter of adults (27%) said that the challenges posed by Brexit will have prompted businesses to become more productive and entrepreneurial, rising to 40% of respondents aged over 55. Technology would also have its part to play, with more than a fifth of respondents (23%) believing tech would bridge borders in 10 years-time, meaning the impact of leaving the EU would be irrelevant. This rose to 34% of those who voted to leave. A further 23% of respondents said British businesses would be hiring more talent from within the UK.
Joanna Morris, Head of Insight at Hitachi Capital Business Finance commented that: “For the last six years we have surveyed small business owners every quarter to get their take on growth and expansion. For this study we were keen to ask the public – the customers of small businesses – how they viewed the prospects of the UK’s business community after Brexit. The last few months has been a period of seismic change, both in terms of Brexit and Covid and our new research helps us to understand how much confidence the general public has in British enterprise as we all re-emerge from lockdown and attention turns to rebuilding our society together.
“It is great to see from our research that people are looking for the opportunities and positives coming from Brexit rather than dwelling on what people voted for a few years ago. It is perhaps a sign that the country is healing and becoming more united. And the public clearly has faith in UK businesses big and small to innovate, to grow and to use technology that will support the economy, people’s lives and create jobs.”