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Brexit isn’t a threat say food firms, as shopper confidence falls

Matt Atherton

By Matt Atherton+

02-Dec-2016
Last updated on 06-Dec-2016 at 12:49 GMT2016-12-06T12:49:03Z

Almost three quarters of manufacturers don't see Brexit as a threat (Flickr/Rareclass)
Almost three quarters of manufacturers don't see Brexit as a threat (Flickr/Rareclass)

Brexit poses no threat to businesses, believes 74% of manufacturers, including food and drink firms, while consumer confidence dropped to a six-month low.

The result, revealed in the Future Impacts report, was based on a survey from commercial insurer RSA. It was designed to gauge the effects of Brexit on business prospects and how firms were planning to respond.

Almost half of all manufacturers believed Brexit would benefit their business, according to the report, published this week (November 30). More than a quarter of manufacturers thought Brexit would have no impact on their business.

But, 20% of small and medium businesses (SMEs) said they would go out of business if they were hit with an unbudgeted £50,000 bill. Almost three quarters of SMEs said new risks had emerged since they started business.

Economic uncertainty

The top three risks for UK SMEs were economic uncertainty, increasing market competition and cash flow, RSA said. Cyber-attacks were the biggest emerging risk, but only 26% of manufacturers said they were concerned about them.

Top three risks for UK SMEs
  1. Economic uncertainty
  2. Increasing market competition
  3. Cash flow

Meanwhile, an unrelated report from market research firm GfK revealed consumer confidence fell to its lowest level since the Brexit vote in November. GfK said consumers were “resolutely gloomy” about the economic outlook, as its Consumer Confidence Index dropped to -8, down from -3.

GfK head of market dynamics Joe Staton said: “The slump across the board this month points to continuing uncertainty about the state of the economy among consumers.

‘We are resolutely gloomy about the outlook’

“We are viewing our economy over the past 12 months with increasing despondency. The decreasing score on the economy for the next 12 months also shows we are resolutely gloomy about the outlook despite strong GDP numbers.”

Confidence about the general economic situation dropped to 25 points in November, too. That was 16 points lower than the same period last year.

Elsewhere, bacon producer Turners of Bond Street was sold from liquidation this week due to Brexit-related cost rises. Insolvency firm CVR Global said the business was struggling partly because of Brexit, as import prices rose by 20% since the EU referendum.

 

RSA Brexit survey – at a glance
  • 74% of manufacturers don’t see Brexit as a threat
  • 29% said Brexit wouldn’t impact their business
  • 45% said Brexit would have a positive impact on business