The survey of 755 businesses leaders by global credit company Creditsafe found that 60% of surveyed food and drink businesses had been hit negatively by the UK’s exit from the EU already.
Commenting on the results, Creditsafe chief executive Chris Robertson said the report provided a snapshot of the state of UK business based on experience, as opposed to just statistics.
Uncertainty affecting optimism
“The impact of economic uncertainty on the optimism of business leaders for 2019 will undoubtedly gain the attention of business bodies and the government, who should take note of these less tangible, yet still important, impacts of their actions,” said Robertson.
The Census also found that businesses across the UK expected their biggest challenges to be the economy and recruitment. Despite their fears, 90% of UK businesses expected to grow in 2019.
However, UK economic growth has been under pressure since a strong performance this summer, with the Bank of England expecting a 0.2% increase in GDP for the final three months of 2018 and forecasting a similar rate for the first quarter of 2019.
Other key findings in the survey included 68% of businesses reporting a turnover increase in 2018, with the south west reporting the most growth (75.68% of respondents). The survey also found that 85% of businesses didn’t recruit a graduate in 2018.
“It has been a memorable year for businesses in Britain, with Brexit dominating the media headlines and uncertainty around our role in the EU still rife,” Robertson added.
The full findings of the report can be found here.
Meanwhile, the UK food and drink industry is already feeling the “disastrous impact” of leaving the EU, according to the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW).