UK – A quarterly survey of SMEs indicates the wish for a free-trade pact with the EU following Brexit, the National Manufacturing Barometer reported.
The survey conducted by SWMAS (part of the Exelin Group) and Economic Growth Solutions(EGS), asked 331 SMEs, of which 50% said keeping a free-trade plan with the EU was a key priority, as well as the need for the UK government to be faster with the negotiation process.
The survey also asked about the impact of Brexit on business to date: 41% reported a negative impact, whilst 47% anticipate tougher business conditions after Brexit. Half of those surveyed felt that the government had not taken their business needs into consideration in “Brexit” talks so far. “SME manufacturers comprise 95% of the industry and their voice needs to be heard,” Exelin Group CEO Simon Howes said.
When asked about business performance for the six months from January to June 2017, 57% noted increased turnover during this period and 61% reported sales increases in the previous quarter. This represents a slight decrease, but, however, a 14% increase compared to the same period last year. Investment in capital machinery and staff recruitment was also both slightly down on the previous quarter at 41% and 38%, respectively. With regards profits, 39% reported an increase over this period, while 31% noted a decrease.