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The transition period has now officially ended.

Just one in four businesses fully prepared for Brexit with five months to go

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A new study has shown how just one in four UK businesses is fully prepared for Brexit – despite the transition period set to end in just five months time. 

Released this month by the Institute of Directors, nearly half of the 1,000 companies they surveyed said they weren’t able to prepare despite the ticking clock, with one in seven saying the coronavirus had distracted them from Brexit preparations. 

Worryingly, a third of businesses said they still needed more clarity on what they need to do before acting. 

Companies in the financial services sectors are currently best prepared according to the survey, whilst manufacturing – which relies so heavily on free and quick access for imports and exports – still has some way to go. 

Further reading: How Brexit may impact the UK manufacturing sector (opens in new tab)

Interestingly, UK businesses seem to be more confident that they could well mitigate any impact of a no-deal scenario, but recognise that the UK economy is in dire need of a trade agreement with the EU – especially in-light of events so far this year. 

When asked how important it is that the government reaches a deal with the EU, 34% said it was very important for their organisation, whilst 65% said it was key for the economy. 

Director of the IoD, Jonathan Geldart, commented on the survey findings that: “With so much going on, many directors feel that preparing for Brexit proper is like trying to hit a moving target. Jumping immediately into whatever comes next would be a nightmare for many businesses.

“A commitment to some form of reciprocal phasing-in of changes once clear is a long-standing ask from our members, and the benefits would be significant. At a time when government is rightly straining every sinew to help firms deal with widespread disruption, it would be counterproductive not to seek to minimise it at the end of the year.

“Unilateral actions like staggering import controls would be a welcome step from Government, but are by no means enough, we need to mitigate disruption across many different sectors on both sides. A phased implementation is in everyone’s interests, and direct financial support for smaller firms would be a huge boost at a difficult time.”

Read more: Brexit: the greatest business opportunity for a generation?

He concluded that; “Directors want to take advantage of the opportunities that can come with an independent trade policy. They want to start this exciting new chapter on the front foot, not distracted by disruption.”

How prepared for Brexit is your business? At Go Exporting, we’re supporting companies to understand where the threats and opportunities of the UK’s departure from the European Union lie with free Brexit planning checklists and detailed business audits. 

Find out more about our Brexit consultancy services here.

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