The UK’s tech sector has been rightly lauded as a success story each domestically and globally – growing twice as fast as the rest of the UK economy and commanding the highest levels of investment across Europe. A no-deal Brexit threatens this.
At the top of 2018, earlier than Theresa May’s negotiated Withdrawal Agreement was first put earlier than Parliament, TechUK surveyed its members on Brexit.
That research revealed that 69% of respondents thought that a no-deal Brexit would have a “fairly negative” or “very negative” impression on their companies. Nine months on, that place stays unchanged even though firms have elevated their preparedness for no deal.
Although our members requested us to clarify their preference for remaining in the EU forward of the referendum, TechUK has at all times revered the end result of that vote. We have constantly known as for a deal with the EU that offers companies the understanding of a transition interval and the power to secure the necessary agreements with the EU to be certain that businesses can continue to trade and repair shoppers throughout borders.
As the clock continues to click on down to the Halloween deadline, TechUK hopes the federal government will make a real and strenuous effort to safe a deal with the EU that may command a majority in Parliament when it returns for the brand new session.
In the 9 months since we final surveyed our members, a lot of these we spoke to have increased their preparations for a no-deal exit. This is significantly true of bigger members finishing the survey, of which nearly 90% stated they felt very or pretty ready.
But simply because firms have battened down the hatches it doesn’t imply they suppose they are going to get via a no-deal Brexit unscathed. No-deal preparation is an train in harm limitation, not mitigation.
The image is extra worrying for small enterprise. Fewer than half of the companies we surveyed with 50 staff or fewer felt they have been ready for Brexit. In reality, many of those companies have taken no active steps to prepare for a no deal, citing the lack to predict the impression, uncertainty about what steps to take, or a lack of assets as the principle causes for not performing.
The UK’s tech sector is resilient. We are and can proceed to be a hub for innovation, expertise and funding. A spot the place individuals with nice concepts can flip them into nice companies that create extremely expert and extremely paid jobs. But the present scenario of continued uncertainty is holding again funding and innovation.
If we depart with out a deal on 31 October, we can be again on the negotiating desk the subsequent day to begin talks on a free-trade settlement, however with out a withdrawal settlement to construct on. This will additional prolong uncertainty and shake confidence not simply in our sector however throughout the economic system.
So, we name on the Prime Minister to focus his energies on hanging a deal in order that we are able to get again to the job of building a world-class digital economic system.