Figures reveal London’s businesses still wait for post-Brexit certainty

Tuesday 11 December 2018

New polling has found that 75% of London businesses have not yet made any provisions in preparation for the possible effects of Brexit.


The polling was carried out by the independent research agency ComRes on behalf of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) ahead of a Brexit summit between London and Berlin Chambers of Commerce in London today (Tuesday 11th December).

The summit at the Marriott Hotel County Hall is part of a new ‘Inter-Chamber Dialogue on Brexit’ that will bring together around fifty businesses from both cities to gauge the concerns, hopes and expectations of business members businesses in both capital cities.

The summit will be opened by the Deputy Mayor of London for Business, Rajesh Agrawal.

Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive of LCCI, said:

“With Parliament due to consider the Withdrawal Agreement, member businesses of London Chamber and Berlin Chamber have been waiting for clarity and certainty on the potential terms of trade in future years.

MPs should take note of our new polling in their pre-vote deliberations. The need for certainty is absolutely critical for firms, whether in Britain or Germany”.

ComRes interviewed 507 London business decision makers online between 26 October and 21 November 2018.  The results show: 

Over half of London’s businesses think that it is important for Brexit negotiations to achieve:

  • Freedom to provide services (67%).  Low levels of bureaucracy (65%).  Free movement of capital and payments (62%).  Uniform regulation or standards (56%).  Free movement of goods (55%). 
  • Free movement of persons is more divisive amongst London businesses, with two in five (41%) saying that this is not important – while 53% said it is important.

When asked about which Brexit-related issues are likely to cause their companies the most problems:

  • Similar proportions of business leaders select legal and taxation regulation (29%), movement of goods or customs formalities – (28%), financial services and insurance – (25%). 
  • Smaller proportions say the same about contracts (19%), personnel/recruitment/staff deployment (17%), trademark rights and certification (9%),
  • However, three in ten (30%) say that none of the issues tested are likely to cause their companies the most problems.

Relationship with EU:

  • Over a third of London businesses say that they import (38%) or export (39%) from the EU.  Around a fifth (21%) say that between 20-59% of their total turnover is accounted for by foreign business (EU and third countries). 

Impact of Brexit:

  • 63% of London businesses tend not to believe that they will be directly affected by Brexit, compared to just over a third (37%) who believe that their company will be directly affected.
  • London businesses that only operate in the UK are divided on whether or not they are indirectly affected by Brexit; 55% say that they are, whilst 45% say that they are not.

Preparations:

  • Overwhelmingly, London businesses have not made plans to move, or have not completed moving, investments from the EU to other markets (91%), while only 9% say that they plan to or already have done so.  Just 3% say that they have already moved investments.
  • Of the 9% of London businesses who say that they are planning to, or have moved their investments, over half (52%) say that this move would be to elsewhere in the EU, while 26% say this move would be to the UK and 22% say they would look outside the EU.
  • ​Of the small proportion of London businesses who say that they plan to move, or have moved, investment from the EU to the UK, they generally report that this would be, or has been, to London rather than anywhere else in the UK.
  • The vast majority of London businesses say that they do not have plans to relocate staff or change staffing levels as a result of Brexit (92%), whilst only a minority say that they have begun to plan for staff changes (5%) or have already relocated staff (2%). 
  • 8% of businesses say they have already begun to plan for staff changes or have already relocated staff or changed staffing levels as a result of Brexit, 15% say they are at least considering staff changes. Of those, 50% said that such staff changes would have a negative impact on their business.​

Future relationship post-Brexit:

  • London businesses are most likely to believe that their company’s business relationship with the EU will remain the same (41%) as a result of Brexit, although they are significantly more likely to say that this relationship will worsen (32%) than improve (6%).
  • Correspondingly, the vast majority of London businesses (75%) have not yet made any provisions preparing for the possible effects of Brexit, although one in ten (10%) say that they have got together with partners and discussed or negotiated contract alterations.


ENDS

Media contact
Steven Reilly-Hii
T: +44 (0)20 7203 1897                         
E: sreilly-hii@londonchamber.co.uk

NOTES TO EDITOR:

  1. London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is the capital’s largest and most representative business organisation, with members ranging in size from multi-national companies to SMEs and sole traders.
  2. Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive, is available for further comment and interview.
  3. The Inter chamber dialogue on Brexit summit will take place on the morning of Tuesday 11 December at the Marriott Hotel County Hall.
  4. ComRes interviewed 507 London business decision makers online between 26 October and 21 November 2018. Data were weighted to be representative of all London businesses by company size and broad industry sector. 
  5. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.  Full data tables are available at www.comresglobal.com