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Nearly two-thirds of Institute of Director members think the referendum result is negative for their business and a fifth are considering moving some of their operations outside the UK, according to a post-Brexit poll.
The poll shows a third anticipate hiring will continue at the same pace, but a quarter will put a freeze on recruitment and 5% will make redundancies. The IoD, which did not campaign during the referendum, received results from 1,092 members between 24– 26 June.
Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors commented on the results: “Businesses will be busy working out how they are going to adapt and succeed after the referendum result. But we can’t sugar-coat this, many of our members are feeling anxious. A majority of business leaders think the vote for Brexit is bad for them, and as a result plans for investment and hiring are being put on hold or scaled back.”
Over a third of IoD members say the outcome of last Thursday’s vote will cause them to cut investment in their business, against 9% who say they will increase investment. Just under half say it will not change their investment plans.
The overwhelming priority now for business leaders is that steps are taken to protect the economy from the negative reaction in financial markets, with three-quarters ranking this first. Next comes securing a new trade arrangement with the EU.
Firms are willing to be patient, with half thinking getting a good deal should be prioritised over wrapping it up speedily. Nearly half of IoD members worry the rest of the EU will react negatively to the UK in negotiations. There is no consensus yet among business leaders on what trading model the UK should aim to achieve.
Walker added: “These results highlight the importance of the Bank of England maintaining stability in the financial system. It is crucial that the banks do not starve businesses of cash.
“Businesses have a clear message to those who may wish to replace David Cameron as Prime Minister: during the referendum campaign we were promised an open and outward-looking country after Brexit. Now it must be delivered.”