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Most businesses are very worried about Brexit but only a small number have a plan to handle it

Only 6% have a formal plan in place, according to the AIB Brexit Sentiment Index.

Image: Shutterstock/Halfpoint

ALMOST SIX IN ten small-to-medium sized businesses believe Brexit will have a negative impact on their future business, but only 6% of businesses have a plan in place to deal with the fallout of the UK leaving the EU.

The AIB Brexit Sentiment Index for the second quarter of this year also highlights that 70% of businesses believe that Brexit will have a negative wider economic impact on the country.

Since the index began, the feeling of Irish businesses has been overwhelmingly negative about Brexit and that hasn’t changed with this latest index, as uncertainty reigns over what kind of deal will exist between the UK and EU.

The rhetoric from some sections of the UK government has been that it is likely it will leave the EU without essential deals on trade and customs arrangements, which would further heighten barriers for business.

The AIB index said: “The prevailing uncertainty is clearly feeding back into business sentiment among many SMEs in both jurisdictions (Ireland and Northern Ireland), each of which have their own unique concerns.”

On the other hand, a large number of firms say that Brexit isn’t currently affecting their business.

AIB chief economist Oliver Mangan said: “Around three-quarters of SMEs in [Ireland] and two-thirds of firms in Northern Ireland state that Brexit having no impact on their business currently.”

Mangan said it is the tourist trade that is the most clearly impacted to date in Ireland while the food and drinks industry has been most affected in Northern Ireland.

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According to the survey, 32% of businesses in Ireland believed there could be a hard border after Brexit and businesses were encouraged to draft plans for how their business would cope in every Brexit scenario.

AIB’s Catherine Moroney added that it is “critical to plan for the worst now”.

The survey was conducted by Ipsos MRBI among 500 SMEs in Ireland and 200 in Northern Ireland.

About the author:

Sean Murray

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