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Brexit Barometer: Law firm Thomson Snell & Passmore survey reveals mixed views on upcoming split

By Chris Britcher

Despite the uncertainty over the Brexit withdrawal agreement, businesses remain confident the split from the UK will bring advantages, according to a survey conduct by a leading county law firm.

But despite the opportunities perceived, just under half say they do not feel confident about the nation's economic prospects over the coming year.

Law firm Thomson Snell & Passmore, which has offices in Tunbridge Wells and Dartford, surveyed 140 businesses across the UK’s key sectors, including banking and finance, property and agriculture to gauge the current market sentiment ahead of the March 29 exit.

Law firm's Brexit Barometer gives on-going insight into business views on the split
Law firm's Brexit Barometer gives on-going insight into business views on the split

Its Brexit Baromter has been taking the pulse of business opinion since the referendum in June 2016.

Despite concern from respondents about the economic prospects over the next year, there is also a positive long-term outlook with 58% of respondents in the October survey saying that they are either quite or extremely confident that the UK will thrive outside the EU.

This is bolstered by a high level of confidence that businesses will be able to access their supply chain after March 29 with the survey in November seeing 76% confident on the issue.

Joanne Gallagher (5837755)
Joanne Gallagher (5837755)

The latest findings from the November poll found 73% said the withdrawal agreement had not made them rethink their business preparations for Brexit.

Some 34% said concerns over Brexit were due to prices and exports, 24% cited access to the single market and 15% on business dependence on migrant workers.

Of those quizzed, 42% did not feel confident about the UK economy in the next 12 months.

'Our Brexit Barometer clearly shows that businesses recognise that there are opportunities for Britain outside of the EU'

The October poll revealed over a third of respondents (36%) identified a greater ability to engage in free trade deals with other countries as the main benefit of Brexit, followed by over a quarter (28%) choosing less regulation.

However, almost a third (32%) said they were not at all confident of Britain thriving outside the EU.

Joanne Gallagher, partner and head of the corporate team at Thomson Snell & Passmore, said: “Although there is still uncertainty about what the impact of Brexit will be, our Brexit Barometer clearly shows that businesses recognise that there are opportunities for Britain outside of the EU, including the greater ability to do free trade deals with other countries and perhaps less regulation.

Confidence of opportunities remains high - but also fears for the nation's economy
Confidence of opportunities remains high - but also fears for the nation's economy

"Our Brexit Barometer suggests there is greater confidence from the SME marketplace about Britain’s future than some politicians suggest. It will be interesting to see how this confidence develops over the next few months.”

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