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IoD: The impact of Brexit, six months on

29 Jun 2021

Working exclusively with the Financial Times, a recent Institute of Directors survey of over 650 business leaders has looked at the impact that Brexit has had on businesses in the UK.

The research has found that:

  • Almost a third of businesses that trade with the EU have suffered a decline or loss of business since new barriers to trade were introduced on 1 January
  • 17% of businesses that previously traded with the EU have stopped, either temporarily or permanently, since the start of the year
  • Nearly a quarter of businesses that trade with the EU have had to relocate some operations or staff
  • About two-thirds of businesses anticipated that new UK customs controls would have a negative effect on trade when they are implemented in January
  • Over a quarter of companies said Brexit had caused difficulties in hiring staff, with 17% in relation to high skilled staff, and 10% low skilled
  • 17% of companies said that Brexit made them more likely to invest in their businesses, compared to 15% who said it made it less 

Responding to the research, Jonathan Geldart, Director General of the IoD, commented:

“Six months on, many businesses are still wrangling with the challenges of our new relationship with the EU. Small and medium sized firms in particular are struggling to navigate new procedures around exporting and importing with the bloc, while business leaders are more broadly reporting difficulties in recruiting following an end to freedom of movement.

“Firms of all sizes will continue to need support to minimise the costs of adjusting to the deal, alongside clarity and direction from the government to seek out any new opportunities.”

Full Survey Results – 651 respondents, conducted between 2nd – 21st June 2021

Is your primary organisation currently actively trading with the EU? 

Total

651

Yes

48%

No, have temporarily stopped tradingwith the EUafter January 1st

7%

No, havepermanently stopped trading with the EUafter January 1st

3%

We do not trade with theEU

42%

Don'tknow

1%


To what extent has Brexit required your organisation to relocate each of the following to the EU? 


No relocation

Smallrelocation

Moderaterelocation

Significantrelocation

Fullrelocation

Your operations

87%

5%

4%

3%

1%

Your staff

92%

4%

2%

2%

0%


To what extent have new barriers to trade introduced since January 1 caused a decline/loss in your organisation's trade with the EU? (Comparing Jan-Jun 2021 trade relative to the Jan-Jun pre-pandemic norm) 

Total

311

Has increased

6%

No change

58%

Has decreased by up to 25%

20%

Has decreased by up to 25-50%

6%

Has decreased by more than 50%

5%

Don'tknow

5%


Has Brexit made you more or less likely to invest in your organisation?  

Total

651

Significantly more likely

3%

More likely

14%

No change

66%

Less Likely

11%

Significantly less likely

4%

Don’t know

2%


Has your organisation experienced any difficulties in hiring staff due to a shortfall in applicants from EU citizens?  

Total

651

Yes - high skilled

17%

Yes - low skilled

10%

No

74%

Don’t know

4%


To what extent do you anticipate new UK customs controls due to be introduced later this year to negatively impact trade?  

Total

651

Significant negative impact

18%

Moderatenegative impact

26%

Little negative impact

22%

No negative impact

22%

Don’t know

11%


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