smallbusiness.co.uk: Helping your business think big

Email a Friend

Majority of UK businesses against Brexit 
Small business owners are in favour of solidarity with Europe

Some 60 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners would vote to stay in the European Union with only 17 per cent supporting a ‘Brexit’, a study finds.

Accountancy firm Moore Stephens says SME owners worry that an erosion of the UK’s position within Europe could harm growth opportunities as the cost and complexity of trade increases for UK goods and services.

Mark Lamb, partner at Moore Stephens says that owner-managed businesses are concerned that future growth will be disproportionally hit by a UK exit as they would no longer compete on a level playing field in the EU.

'Economic and political uncertainty is already impacting trade for some SMEs, and there is a fear that leaving the EU could severely destabilise business growth in the long-run,' he adds. 

The pound is already under pressure following London Mayor Boris Johnson and other political heavyweights coming out this week in support of ‘Brexit’, which could lead to volatile financial markets in the run-up to the referendum.

'A Brexit is also likely to rekindle the Scottish independence debate which SME owners predict will further impact business – as we saw in the run up to the referendum in 2014,' Lamb says. 

'Small businesses currently benefit from unrestricted access to the large European market and many could find increases in tariffs and potential trade restriction difficult to overcome, stifling international growth potential.'

Not all SME owners object to leaving the EU, however. Some SMEs welcome an exit from Europe primarily due to the excessive bureaucracy associated with EU trading regulations, especially in the food industry, and also because of the prospect of tax reductions which could benefit business.

'Some argue that membership of the European Economic Area would allow companies to access the key benefits of Europe without having to deal with EU bureaucracy, similar to countries such as Iceland,' says Lamb. 

'However, factors such as the loss of free trade agreements with non-EU countries which would have to be renegotiated, likely on less favourable terms as a smaller individual trading partner, and the loss of EU farming subsidies would be difficult and costly for SME to absorb.'

Further reading on Brexit

See also: Owner's salary

Related topics: Entrepreneurs

Previous article

Students believe employers expect too much from school leavers

Next article

SMEs rein in growth ambitions

Post a comment

1 comment

Richard Carlton

Add us to the list of small businesses firmly against Brexit - Richard Carlton, Director, The Archaeological Practice Ltd., Newcastle upon Tyne

Related

Blog post |

Gordon Brown's budget for businesses and individuals 
Small businesses short-changed by Budget  

News | Opportunities

Small businesses short-changed by Budget  

News | Management

Majority of small businesses not online
Will 2010 be a better year for UK business?

Guide | Business management

Will 2010 be a better year for UK business?

Small Business Offers

More from Small Business

Starting a Business
The actual statistics of small business success

The actual statistics of small business success

Here, we look at what common success rate stats mean and how they should be...  

Financing a Business
Why small business lending alternatives are the next big thing 

Why small business lending alternatives are the next big thing 

Here are a few of the biggest drivers behind the slowdown in small business lending...  

Running a Business
How to re-energise a disengaged employee

How to re-energise a disengaged employee

Here, we look at what employers can do to turn around employee disinterest before it...  

Blog
Small businesses and courtesy in the digital age 

Small businesses and courtesy in the digital age 

In the latest in his series of courtesy in business, David Cliff examines the downside...