On Friday 29th March 2019, we will leave the EU. Or, that’s the plan at least. So much has been written on the topic; recent headlines include “Great UK Expectations meet EU reality”, “no-deal Brexit DISASTER” and “Brexit clock is ticking” (like we needed the reminder.)
The consequence for small, British business is also a topic at the forefront of debate – and rightly so. Per fsb.org.uk, small businesses accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses at the start of 2018, and 99.9% were small or medium-sized (SMEs.) An overwhelming majority.
To find out more about Brexit’s effect on SMEs – which Theresa May once declared the “backbone of British economy” – rebootonline.com created a survey for those at the helm of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs.) Respondents ranged in age, from 18 to 65 plus; an almost 50/50 split between male and female (46% and 54%, respectively) voters.
In total, Reboot surveyed 1,934 respondents who took a vote on Brexit, to find out just how they feel about it, almost two years in.
When asked ‘How did you vote in the 2016 EU Referendum?’, Reboot Online found 53% of respondents opted to remain, while 47% opted to leave. A split not far off equal, once again reckoning the divisiveness of the vote.
Strikingly, when asked ‘Regarding the current progress made, would you revoke your vote?’, one third of leavers (34%) declared yes, if they had the choice again, they would revoke their vote on Brexit and choose to remain a part of the EU.
From further analysis we can see this is due to a crushing 69% of leavers, who were once hopeful, now believing the process of Brexit has been “much harder and more chaotic than anticipated.” Had this not been the case, it’s doubtful there would be any regret.
Just a third (31%) of British SMEs say the process has been “exactly how I anticipated it to be.”
Not one respondent proclaimed the process had been “much smoother than I originally anticipated.”
Naomi Aharony, managing director of Reboot Online, offers this comment:
“The way Brexit has been handled up to now, has caused huge uncertainty, which in turn has slowed down business growth and investment.
I don’t believe the government is fully aware of the imminent existential threat to so many SMEs caused by the ongoing negotiations.
It’s not surprising that so many small business owners who originally voted to leave have expressed their desire to revoke their vote. I don’t think this is due to some sort of change of heart but rather a willingness to avoid the chaos that has been created by the Brexit process and negotiations.”