A survey by the Small Firms’ Association (SFA) of its member companies received ‘overwhelmingly negative’ opinions on the impact of Brexit, SFA Director Patricia Callan says.
Those surveyed identified three particularly worrying effects of the UK referendum. 48% of respondents pointed at exchange rate movements as a threat to their business. 39% felt similarly about the potential cost of exporting to Northern Ireland/Great Britain, and 38% were concerned about changes in pricing.
42% of respondents admitted that they had a contingency plan in place, or were aiming to introduce one. The remaining 58% did not have a plan, or believed it was too early to tell if one was needed.
Speaking at an Oireachtas Symposium on ‘The Economic Implications of UK Withdrawal from the European Union’ on September 22, Ms. Callan stated: “The UK is a key marketplace for our small exporting companies. It is a learning ground when they’re starting up, and it is not easy to diversify into other markets farther afield without significant resources. Equally, the UK is our biggest market for tourism visitors, which has an impact on local economies right around the country. The threat of recession in the UK is very real and we would be very concerned about the knock-on implications of that for our entire domestic economy.”
Ms. Callan explained the SFA’s worries further to those assembled: “Cost-competitiveness is a huge issue for our members this year. Rising external costs, for which they are price-takers and have no control, are posing serious challenges. Government policy has a significant impact on many of these costs, such as labour costs, interest rates and insurance costs. The SFA is calling on members of the Oireachtas to tackle these costs and support small businesses as they navigate the challenges of Brexit.”
The survey was submitted to 2,500 SFA member companies, of whom 780 responded.
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