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National survey says two in three UK businesses are not ready for Brexit

With the October 31 deadline arriving this week, a new survey by software consultancy agency ThoughtWorks finds that 63 per cent of UK businesses will not be ready for Brexit.

It is now likely that there will be another extension to the Brexit process, but 26 per cent of businesses surveyed said they will need a further 6 to 12 months to get their company ready.

Of all the UK’s major cities, Newcastle consistently came out as the least prepared to adapt to the regulatory, economic and data issues that will come as a result of Brexit.

In the event of a no deal exit, 28 per cent of Newcastle businesses said they would be ready. Meanwhile, only 22 per cent said they would be ready in the event of leaving with an agreement in place.

The national survey asked 1026 business leaders how long it would take to get their businesses ready to adapt to the changes.

There was little difference between a hard or a soft Brexit in terms of business readiness, with Newcastle businesses even saying they were less prepared to leave with a deal.

This is probably because details of the agreement and what our future relationship with the EU would be like are not yet widely known.

Only 14 per cent of businesses UK-wide said they were fully prepared, whereas 9 per cent said they would never be ready.

Businesses in the construction sector were those most likely to say they would be ready, whereas those in manufacturing and education were least likely to be prepared.

Kevin Flynn, director as ThoughtWorks UK, commented: “After a period of unprecedented economic and political uncertainty, we asked businesses around the UK how prepared they were for the key regulatory, economic and data issues they believed will result from Brexit.

“It is a concern that the majority of businesses surveyed say they do not feel they are ready, and this changes little for the deal or no deal Brexit scenarios.

“In the weeks ahead, we will look more closely at how businesses plan to adapt to the new post-Brexit era. Supply chain disruption, employment of EU citizens, the falling value of the Pound and transfer of data between the UK and EU are key issues cited today as challenges for businesses.”