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Paul Briddon talks how East Anglian businesses express pessimism about the progress of Brexit negotiations

East Anglian businesses express pessimism about progress of Brexit negotiations

By: Marketing Team Date: 7 February 2018
Category: Press Release

Five times as many believe negotiations are going badly, compared to those who think they are going well.
Just one in nine businesses in East Anglia believes the Brexit negotiations are going well for the UK – against a national figure of one in four, according to a comprehensive new national survey.

However business owners in the region are showing more faith in Theresa May’s government in handling the negotiations than their counterparts across the country – although only one in three regional business leaders are prepared to give the government a vote of confidence.

The figures come from a wide-ranging study conducted by HLB International, the network of independent accounting firms and business advisers, whose East Anglian representative is Lovewell Blake. The survey questioned hundreds of businesses across the country about their attitudes to how the Brexit process is going.

How do businesspeople think the negotiations are going?
The survey showed that just 11 per cent of businesses in the region think the Brexit negotiations are going well. More than twice as many believed their business will be worse off as a result of leaving the EU as opposed to being be better off (46 per cent vs 21 per cent).

59 per cent of respondents in the region want the UK to stay in the Customs Union and/or Single Market after Brexit, whilst almost one in five say that the UK should not pay a so-called ‘Divorce Bill’ for leaving the EU.

Other findings include:
  • Twice as many businesses in the region believe that Michel Barnier will negotiate a better deal than David Davis (44 per cent vs 22 per cent)
  • One in three want the UK to pursue a hard Brexit (35 per cent), slightly more than across the country (31 per cent)
  • 70 per cent of businesses in the region believe the Government’s lack of an economic forecast is ‘bad business practice’, with just 16 per cent backing David Davis’s view that it is ‘good business practice’
  • More than half of East Anglian businesses (52 per cent) think the EU is behaving unfairly in the negotiations
  • 58 per cent of regional businesses think the UK economy will do worse over the next ten years as a result of Brexit, whilst 34 per cent believe it will fare better
  • More than twice as many businesspeople voted Remain than Leave in East Anglia (67 per cent vs 32 per cent)
  • Regional businesses don’t want a second referendum by a narrow margin (51 per cent vs 45 per cent); the figures show that nationally, the opposite is true (50 per cent vs 46 per cent)

A note from Paul Briddon, Senior Partner at Lovewell Blake
"This is a fascinating and comprehensive picture of how the UK’s businesses – and those in our region – are viewing the progress of the Brexit process”

“Five times as many of our local businesses think the process is going badly as judge it to be going well. Whatever your views on whether we should be leaving the EU or remaining a member, that pessimism can only be damaging to business confidence."

“The message from regional business people seems to be clear: the Government needs to up its game to make sure the UK comes out of the negotiations with a deal which will safeguard jobs and our region’s economy.”

The full results can be seen here.
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