Firms Feel The Pinch As Brexit Uncertainty Bites

The latest Business Monitor results from InterTradeIreland have shown that firms across Northern Ireland and Ireland are beginning to feel the pinch of Brexit.

The UK's withdrawal from the EU remains the single biggest challenge to local companies, with more being affected by the continued uncertainty. Over 37% reported that it is having a negative impact on their business, almost double those in the same situation this time last year.

Overall, the figures mask some worrying signs for small firms and the construction sector in particular- which is viewed as a bell weather for the economy. This is starkly set out by the fact that nearly three in ten micro businesses report they are just breaking even at best, while the outlook for construction has softened, with one in four firms experiencing a decrease in sales this quarter.

Despite the unease among firms, 46% of companies across the island are still reporting growth while a similar amount are stable (44%).
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The number of firms stepping up to the challenge and getting ready as best they can for Brexit is increasing, with 28% of cross-border traders reporting they have taken mitigating action particularly in areas such as supply chain (51%), contracts (46%) and cash flow (50%).

Aidan Gough, InterTradeIreland's Designated Officer and Director of Strategy and Policy said: "InterTradeIreland is obviously concerned with the rising negative impact of Brexit on business performance but reassured to see more cross-border SMEs start to prepare. We encourage more businesses to avail of the supports available to them including InterTradeIreland's on-line learning resources and funding of up to £4,500/ €5,000 to help with expert advice.

"Although Brexit remains the single biggest challenge facing businesses we would also draw businesses attention to the challenges and opportunities of new technology. Our latest survey shows that 70 per cent of businesses across the island do not think that changes in digital technology will have an impact on their business in the next 12 months. This is despite the fact 16 per cent have already upgraded to new smarter technologies over the past year while a further 16 per cent intend to do so over the next year. While not losing sight of the elephant in the room which is Brexit, InterTradeIreland is also focused on helping SMEs innovate and prepare for the challenges and opportunities of the future," Aidan added.


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