80% of firms feel let down over Brexit support

Up to 80% of companies feel the Government is failing to help them sufficiently prepare for life after Ireland’s main trading partner Britain leaves the EU.

A survey by accountancy giant BDO of over 400 firms found Irish businesses feel they are not being provided with enough information to ready themselves for the consequences of Brexit.

While optimism among the companies has waned slightly, it remains high. However, four out of five claim that is despite any level of information or guidance coming from Government, not because of it.

Only 46% of respondents expect to see growth in their business activity in the coming three months, a 7% drop on the same time last year.

BDO managing partner Michael Costello said with so much uncertainty around the UK political system at present, the findings are understandable. But, he added, businesses are looking for clarity.

“Almost 80% of companies are reporting inadequate information to allow them to prepare for Brexit,” Mr Costello said.

“This is partly because the complications surrounding the negotiations are not yet widely understood. There is clearly an information gap and uncertainty. The sooner these are addressed by the lead negotiators the better.

“It is an evolving situation, but businesses are calling for clarity.”

He added: “The survey reflects the volatility of markets and the different views of Brexit by both London and Brussels, and how that has led to a growing frustration among Irish businesses.”

The survey shows a 5% drop in the number of firms expecting higher operational profits, compared to the same quarter last year.

Meanwhile, 80% of firms said they expect their employment levels to remain static this year.

“Business sentiment has a strong impact on investment and spending decisions, so the fact that it is positive is very welcome. However, there is clearly an information deficit surrounding Brexit and that is certainly an area of major concern for many companies,” said Mr Costello.

“We’re advising clients who may be affected by Brexit to analyse their supply chains and business strategy, so they can isolate their exposure to the British market.”

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