EU's Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, recently warned that a no-deal Brexit is still not far from reality. Because of this, businesses are still at risk of Brexit's possible adverse effects—and some UK businesses are still not ready for it.
In a 5,000-member survey by techUK, the research found that 60% of SMEs are still not prepared for a no-deal Brexit mainly because they couldn't predict its implications to their businesses. Also, 65% of small companies and 77% of medium-sized companies believe that a no-deal Brexit would harm UK businesses.
According to the report, the biggest challenge that UK businesses will have to face upon a no-deal Brexit is the limited access to a large workforce, especially hiring tech talents. The tight competition for hiring locals and the UK's less appealing image for the EU workforce cause these hiring difficulty. Aside from this, the survey identified the UK tech sector's ‘investability', and access to markets as other key concerns.
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According to Neil Ross, Policy Manager for the Digital Economy at techUK, “SMEs are integral to the UK economy, providing millions of jobs and supporting the supply chains of larger businesses. As a result, the UK cannot get ready for Brexit unless its SMEs are adequately prepared.”
“techUK's deep dive into the perspectives of SMEs should, therefore, be essential reading as the government continues its preparations for no deal,” Ross adds.
The survey also found that many prefer if the government can extend the deadline to allow more time for UK businesses to prepare. Fortunately, the European Council has recently extended Brexit's deadline to the 31st of January 2020 for more time to ratify the withdrawal agreement.
Despite this extension, a no-deal Brexit could still happen by January if the UK parliament will fail to sign Johnson's deal, and if there's no further call for an extension, according to Barnier.
A no-deal could also happen by 2020 if the UK government didn't extend the transition period and if the free trade agreement did not get struck by then.
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