With the referendum looming on 23rd June, there have been many polls asking UK voters how they will vote when faced with their ballot paper in the booth on the big day. But what do UK business owners think? Loc8 Commercial, the leading property broker, invited 500 UK small business owners to answer five simple questions on the Brexit argument.
Would Brexit be a good thing for your business?
The results of the Loc8 Commercial show that SME’s are split when it comes to whether leaving the EU would have a negative impact on their businesses, with 46% in favour of a British exit from the EU and 46% wanting to stay and just 8% undecided either way.
Will the UK be better off out of the EU?
When asked “would the UK economy be better off if the country left the EU?” businesses responded by saying yes, with just over 50% compared to the 43% that said no.
Do you think a recession is more likely if the UK left the EU?
The Loc8 Commercial survey had some mixed results which could support the theory that many people are simply not sure what impact Brexit will have on the wider economy. For example, 38% of businesses thought a recession would be more likely despite more than 50% agreeing Brexit would be good for the UK economy.
Would there be job losses if the UK left the EU?
Brexit campaigners have said that there could be some short term growth issues but the long term forecast would be generally positive. Ian Duncan Smith said he believes the downward impact on wage growth is due to European migration, something that has been mentioned throughout the debate. But what is not clear is the impact of wage inflation on UK jobs if the country votes to leave, especially as productivity is not rising at the same rate as other European countries according to the Office of National Statistics.
The Loc8 Commercial survey found that just under 40% of UK businesses think there would be job losses if the UK voted to leave, with 31% feeling confident there would not be any immediate increase in unemployment figures. This question had one of the highest levels of respondents who were unsure, with just over 30% not clear either way.
The immediate impact of Brexit on the UK Economy
Last week the head of the World Trade Organisation, Roberto Azevêdo, said in an interview with the Financial Times that the UK would find negotiations for trade deals slow and time consuming following an exit from the EU. As a result there would be an impact on the UK economy which could lead to a recession in the short term. The Loc8 Commercial survey supports the views of Mr Azevêdo with 38% believing a recession was likely. However, there is an equal number between those who are unsure and those that believe a recession is unlikely.
Lee Grodent, CEO and Founder of Loc8 Commercial said, “Our quick survey has thrown up a number of issues that are concerning UK SME’s. With the arguments on both sides being clouded by negative headlines it’s easy to understand why the respondents of our survey are uncertain about the affects of Brexit on the wider economy. It’s clear from these results that the referendum could be close either way.”
What issues have the greatest negative impact on UK businesses?
Both sides of the debate have argued that there is either too much or very little EU red tape. These confusing arguments haven’t helped to clarify the debate. Last month The Treasury cited the LSE Centre for Economic Performance report which stated, “It is unclear whether there are substantial regulatory benefits from Brexit”. Businesses that took part in the Loc8 Commercial survey however, think red tape is the biggest issue affecting their ability to do business easily with 58%. In addition, the regularity of new EU regulations is the second biggest issue with 35% citing this as a concern, well ahead of immigration, which had a zero score from the businesses that took part in the survey.
About Loc8 Commercial
Loc8 Commercial help businesses by working with worldwide, national and independent providers of serviced offices, managed offices, virtual offices and the growing number of Co-working locations to find the right flexible work space solution for you. We’re impartial so you’re guaranteed to get the right advice to suit your budget, location requirements and business needs. Loc8 Commercial has over 20 years of experience of the global office space market.