More than a fifth of businesses will curtail their investment and recruitment plans under a no-deal Brexit, our research shows.
A survey of 1,500 businesses by the British Chambers of Commerce found that 24 per cent would cut investment if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Only four per cent plan to increase investment.
Likewise, 22 per cent would scale down recruitment while just three per cent would take on more staff. The survey covered businesses of all sizes and sectors across the UK.
Rob Johnston, Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Chamber has never taken a stance for or against Brexit but we have been clear that leaving the EU without a deal would be highly disruptive.
“There would be no transition period for businesses to adjust.
“The impacts would be immediate – tariffs from day one, extra paperwork such as customs declarations and potentially interruptions to supply chains.
“We’ve been working to help businesses prepare for no-deal. There’s a huge amount of information in the Brexit Insight section on the Cumbria Business Growth Hub website.
“But we’re clear that no deal isn’t a good outcome for businesses and this latest research from the British Chambers of Commerce underlines that.”
Larger businesses surveyed (firms with more than 50 employees) were more likely to report that they will cut investment and recruitment under a no-deal scenario.
Additionally, nearly one-in-five firms said they would move some or all of their business overseas. Only two per cent are planning to move overseas operations to the UK.
Rob added: “The survey echoes the findings of the Cumbrian Brexit-preparedness survey we carried out earlier this year.
“There is already evidence that simply planning for no deal is sapping businesses’ time, energy and resources. If it becomes a reality, the impacts will be even greater.”
The Chamber’s survey follows publication of the Government’s Yellowhammer contingency plan, outlining “reasonable worst-case assumptions” for a no-deal Brexit on October 31.
This says that business preparedness for no deal is low, particularly among small and medium-sized firms.