Only a quarter of UK SME owners feel they have a clear and concise understanding of what Article 50 means for their business, according the Close Brothers Business Barometer.
The barometer – which is a quarterly survey – gauges the views of over 900 UK SME owners and senior management across a range of sectors and regions.
Neil Davies, CEO of Close Brothers Asset Finance and Leasing (pictured above), said: “Among smaller companies (those with a turnover of less than £500,000) the lack of understanding is even more acute.
“In that category of respondents, the figure falls to only 19%, which is indicative of how little people really know about Article 50 and its potential impact.”
“In the absence of any certainty, business owners are left with no choice but to adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach.
“In common with a year ago when the Brexit outcome was announced, companies are getting on with their day-to-day activities and hoping for the best outcome.”
The barometer has also revealed that over half (52%) of businesses were “unsure” if the triggering of Article 50 would have any measurable effect on their business, while just over a fifth (21%) believed it would, with 27% saying it wouldn’t.
Two-fifths (40%) believed that the triggering of Article 50 would lead to the break-up of the UK.
SMEs were split when asked: “Do you think triggering Article 50 will bring more or less clarity to our relationship with the EU?”
In total, 49% answered “more”, with 51% saying “less”.
Neil added: “For many UK businesses, Europe is a key market, and will continue to be so regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.
“Triggering Article 50 on its own does not seem to have brought the clarity many were hoping for.”
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