NEWS21 November 2017

UK businesses lower Brexit expectations ahead of budget

B2B News Public Sector UK

UK – Ahead of the release of the Autumn budget, half ( 54%) of British businesses have doubts about the chancellor’s ability to allay their concerns around Brexit, a survey from Opinium and reputation firm Lansons has found.


Half of the 511 business decision-makers surveyed ( 50%) also expressed a lack of faith in the government’s ability to negotiate a beneficial deal for the UK leaving the European Union.

The research findings suggest a split in attitudes towards government between sole traders and bigger businesses: while over half ( 51%) of companies with 100 or more employees feel the government is paying attention to the concerns of their industry in the context of Brexit, only a fifth of sole traders ( 21%) feel confident in this area.

Ahead of the budget, set to be announced tomorrow (Wednesday 22 November), the research found that the most pressing issues for businesses were business tax reform ( 29%), cancellation of the business rate rise ( 24%), and changes to self-employed National Insurance contributions ( 26%). For the UK’s sole traders, the latter increased to 40%.

However, 43% of respondents to the online survey lacked clarity on what measures could have a negative impact on their business.

Adam Drummond, head of political polling at Opinium, said: “Businesses are clearly concerned about their future as Brexit negotiations falter. Unfortunately, the Budget looks unlikely to provide the assurances that will actually make the most significant impact on their bottom lines.

“But ‘business’ is also not a monolithic bloc and there are big differences between sole traders who are worried about being ignored by government and big companies who are more relaxed. Given speculation that the government may try to appeal more to younger voters neglected before the general election, this is a reminder that many businesses also feel neglected, adding up to a difficult balancing act for the chancellor.”