A Thomson Reuters survey of 150 Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) across the UK and Europe has revealed that Brexit is now impacting the strategic planning of 40% of businesses; this represents an increase of almost 10% since the survey in July.
The CFO Brexit Survey, which launched in August, is conducted quarterly by the Thomson Reuters Tax and Accounting Division and polls companies that generate between $100 million and $5 billion plus in revenue annually, across various sectors. It asks what impact Brexit has had, or will have, in the following areas: company expansion; investment; headcount; relocation; and compliance.
While the headline figure has grown, many results have remained static; at 35%, there is almost no change in the number of companies who anticipate decreasing the number of their employees in the UK; the Summer the figure was 30%. Similarly, there is only a slight increase (from 4-9%) of those considering relocating their headquarters from the UK as a result of Brexit.
"With no notable change in the number of businesses looking to reduce or relocate UK staff, our results suggest that many businesses are still adopting a 'wait and see' attitude - but a sizable minority (38%) are actively planning for a 'no deal' scenario," said Laurence Kiddle, Managing Director for the EMEA Tax & Accounting business at Thomson Reuters. "This, coupled with a general fall in confidence in the key individuals negotiating Brexit, suggests a general disillusionment with the process and pace of the negotiations."
In both surveys, respondents were asked to rate out of ten their confidence in the Chancellor's stewardship of the UK economy; Philip Hammond's score has decreased from 8.6 in the Summer to 6.6 in the most recent poll.
He is not alone though; respondents were also asked to rate (again out of ten) their confidence in government figures to generate a positive Brexit deal for their business. Prime Minister Teresa May's score has reduced from 3.4 to 3.2; Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has reduced from 2.9 to 2.5 and Brexit Secretary David Davis from 3.8 to 3.6.