News & Insight

Small businesses reveal what they want for their Brexit

Max White

Businesses opt for continental trade deal over post-Brexit-full-English

New research by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) reveals that its members aren’t ordering a post-Brexit-full-English. Instead smaller firms want the continental option – putting a trade deal with Europe at the top of their negotiations wish list.

Keep Trade Easy: What small firms want from Brexit was published ahead of the UK's imminent departure from the European Union (EU). On 29 March next week Theresa May will trigger Article 50 and Britain's exit from the EU. What businesses want to know is how they’ll be affected by negotiations.

What the study shows

The FSB asked 1,758 of its UK small business members what their Brexit priorities are:

  • 63% of exporters would prioritise a deal with Europe first, followed by the US (49%), Australia (29%) and China (28%).

  • A third (34%) of exporting firms say they would be deterred from trading with the EU if a tariff of between 2-4% was applied.

  • A large proportion (39%) of those that trade exclusively with the EU (21% of small firms surveyed) say any tariff rate above 0% would deter them from doing business with the trading bloc.

  • One in five (20%) say they are thinking about relocating more, or all, of their supply chain to the EU.

What the expert says

FSB chair, Mike Cherry, said: “Small firms trade with countries based on ease, cost and value and any future trade deal must deliver on these key aspects both with the EU single market and non-EU markets.

“The reality is that the EU single market is still a crucial market for smaller firms and cannot be undervalued. Compared to larger companies, small businesses typically work to tighter margins with limited resources, meaning changes to the trading landscape will hit them disproportionately hard. We call on the government to ensure that a sensible phased implementation arrangement is put in place to avoid a cliff edge, once we have left the EU.”

Keeping up with Brexit

If you’re a business owner then you don’t have time to keep up with every new Brexit development. But don’t fret. Just visit the Biz Hub when you stop for lunch and get all the important small business news you need in one place.