While the majority of UK companies believe the vote to leave the EU will damage their business, 46% of management teams have not put any exit measures in place.
According to a report from BDO, 90% of the 400 mid-market businesses surveyed want to retain tariff-free access to Europe for their goods and services.
As a result, UK companies are hoping the government secures access to the single market as part of its exit negotiations.
The survey found that 82% of the firms believe that the EU exit will damage their prospects, but 65% also said they will continue to invest during the next two years.
More than half (60%) of the respondents expect to report positive growth in the next 12 months, while short-term prospects are also positive, BDO said.
Companies located in the East Midlands were most optimistic, with 80% forecasting positive growth this financial year and 60% making no change to their investment plans.
Simon Michaels, managing partner at BDO said, “The UK’s ambitious businesses rely on exports and international trade to thrive and achieve their high-growth targets, so it’s unsurprising they want to retain access to the single market to continue tariff-free trade with Europe.”
Michaels warned businesses should start to put measures in place to prepare for what the world could look like after the EU exit.
“Although we’ve got a wait on our hands before any changes could kick in, assessing the impact of leaving the EU should be on every boardroom agenda,” he said.
“Crucially, these businesses need government policies and support that will help drive growth, employment to bring their investment plans to fruition.”
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) warned earlier this month that maintaining the UK’s membership in the single market could boost the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 4%.
The IFS warned that maintaining the UK’s membership in the single market is particularly important for financial services as “passporting rights” enable financial firms to work with EU businesses and customers directly.
Written by Jessica Fino
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