Skip to main content
Become a member
  • Register
  • Login

Register Login


Press Releases Policy publications - Brexit Europe & Trade Brexit

Businesses should step-up no deal preparation

14 Jun 2019

tradeBusinesses cannot afford to put their faith in politicians to produce a Brexit resolution, and should be considering all reasonable preparations for no deal, the Institute of Directors said today.

Producing figures that showed that the extension until October had had little initial impact on firms’ Brexit planning, the IoD urged business leaders to use the time left to ensure they understand their potential exposure to leaving the EU this Autumn without a deal, and to take sensible precautions. 

IoD figures show that the proportion of its members who had activated contingency plans increased slightly between January and April, from 18 to 23%. Overall however, more than half of firms surveyed had still not engaged in any contingency planning, and only 4% said they would be using the extension period to pick up the pace.

There has been very limited financial support for small businesses to prepare from central government, despite repeated calls from the IoD for Brexit planning vouchers to help SMEs get the professional help they need for complex trade and legal issues.

Edwin Morgan, Interim Director General of the Institute of Directors, said

“This week’s vote won’t be the last twist in the Brexit saga, but it made clear how real the possibility of no deal is. Business can have no absolute reassurance that an agreement will be reached, particularly given the commitment of some Conservative leadership candidates to leaving the EU in October with or without a deal. It feels like the extension is at risk of being wasted.

“It shouldn’t need saying, but many seem to have forgotten that getting a deal would be by some distance the better outcome, both for the UK and the EU. No deal is not ‘clean’, the mitigations announced so far are temporary, incomplete and untested with industry, and we would then have to enter into talks with the EU all over again. Far from providing clarity, a WTO exit simply extends uncertainty about the future, so it is no surprise a clear majority of IoD members say no deal would harm their business.

“If businesses can’t have faith in politicians, that means they have to look out for themselves. With business costs rising in many quarters, and management time precious, it’s understandable that firms don’t want put resources towards preparing for something we still hope won’t happen. But the risk of no deal is very real, and so we’d urge all businesses, if they haven’t done so already, to carefully consider their exposure and draw up mitigation plans now.” 

Full survey results:

992 respondents, conducted between 15 April – 5 May 2019.

Have you drawn up and/or implemented any contingency plans for Brexit yet?

Jan 19

Apr 19

We have already activated our Brexit contingency plans



We have drawn up, but not yet implemented, our contingency plans



We have not yet drawn up contingency plans but intend to



We do not yet have any intention to draw up contingency plans - we will only make

changes once the new relationship between the UK and EU is completely clear



We do not have any intention to draw up contingency plans -

we do not expect Brexit to affect us



Don't know



The UK and EU have agreed an extension to the Brexit date until 31 October 2019. Has this announcement changed your approach to Brexit contingency planning?

We will hold off implementing contingency plans because of the extension


We will continue with our current approach towards contingency plans


We will accelerate implementing contingency plans


We do not have contingency plans, but will now begin to draw them up


We will not be doing any Brexit contingency planning


Don't know


An error has occurred. Error: Related articles is currently unavailable.

Contact our press office

Press office

IoD Professional Development Brochure

Knowledge, skills and mindset for a challenging world

IoD courses are designed to tackle the core competencies needed to thrive at board-level.

Download course brochure