Mersey firms being ‘left in limbo’ by lack of clarity on Brexit

Poll of nearly 360 businesses published by accountancy firm BDO shows the frustration among mid-sized businesses as they urge the Government to focus on domestic issues such as skills. Tony McDonough reports

Brexit is causing frustration among North West firms, says BDO’s research


Businesses in the Liverpool city region and across the North West are feeling in Brexit “limbo” as negotiations for Britain to leave the EU in 2019 offer little clarity.

And many have urged the Government to offer more focus to domestic issues such as the skills gap.

With one year to go until Brexit, North West mid-sized businesses say they feel no clearer on the UK’s future with the EU, according to a new poll of nearly 360 businesses published by accountancy firm BDO.

The UK’s mid-sized businesses are a bellwether of the nation’s economy. Typically mid-market, private equity-backed or AIM-listed, they make up around 0.5% of all companies but account for just over one third of all private sector revenue (£1.3tn) and around 30% of private sector employment.

To sustain their growing contribution to the UK economy, these businesses have called for a focus on domestic policies while the Government continues its international negotiations.

When asked which policy would best help their businesses grow now and in a post-Brexit future, over half (52%) of the North West’s mid-sized firms surveyed by BDO named tackling the UK skills crisis as the number one priority. 

As well as boosting the skills of the UK’s workforce, 48% of North West mid-sized companies called for Government to help make doing business at home easier by simplifying the UK tax system. 

Ed Dwan, partner and head of North West at BDO


Creating the right environment for businesses and local communities across the UK to flourish was a priority for 43% of these businesses as they called for more investment in smart physical and digital infrastructure.

Ed Dwan, partner and head of North West at BDO, said: “The business community has really been left in limbo while the Government continues its Brexit discussions.

“While some progress has been made in terms of the transition agreement, the uncertainty around the future of our global position has brought businesses’ focus back home on some fundamental gaps in the UK economy.

“The contribution of the UK’s thriving mid-sized businesses to our national economy – and their resilience at times of disruption – is clear and profound. As we start the one-year Brexit countdown, it’s vital that the Government focuses on creating a simple and stable environment.”

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