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The Small Business That Occupies Your Property Is Terrified Of Brexit

Prospects of rent controls could be raised if Labour comes to power.

Almost half of Britain’s small and midsize companies fear that they will be put out of business in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to a new survey.

Property company M7 Real Estate surveyed the leaders of 1,084 small and midsize businesses across the UK, and 45% of them said they are worried that, with their current corporate setup, they will go out of business within one year in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Almost a third — 32% — are even considering closing their companies.

The findings come as MPs this week prepare to vote on whether to accept Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, to leave the EU without a deal, or extend the date on which the UK exits the EU.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of SMEs predict that they may not survive for more than five years if they take no action in the event of a no-deal departure, and there is clear personal preference (54%) for remaining in the EU under the terms of the UK’s original relationship.   
The SME leaders surveyed represent a gross total of £7.5B in turnover over the last 12 months and directly employ 100,537 full-time staff, M7 said.

Just one in 10 SMEs believe a hard Brexit is in the best interests of their company, with 58% concerned about the impact of a no-deal on their turnover.
More than two thirds (68%) of SMEs support a second referendum. If given the choice, 43% would vote for the original relationship, 35% for a negotiated agreement, 15% for no deal and 7% wouldn’t vote.
SMEs in London are more likely to feel they are under threat of closure within one year if they take no action (51%), compared to those outside the capital (43%).

“These robust statistics underscore the serious anxieties that exist across the SME community at large about the threatening impact of a no-deal Brexit,” M7 Chief Executive Richard Croft said. “With potentially significant consequences for our vital 3,618 UK commercial tenants, these figures reveal a significant absence of appropriate Government no-deal communication, leaving many SMEs in a continued state of ambiguity. This latest data further confirms the highly uncertain impact that a no-deal Brexit will have on the turbo-engines of the UK’s economy.”

Besides being worried, these SMEs reportedly don’t feel they have a voice, M7 said.
“We commissioned this independent national research as one of the UK’s largest SME landlords having continually heard feedback from our tenant base that they feel their concerns are not being listened to. The results bear that sentiment out and highlight the perceived recklessness of moving to a World Trade Organisation/no-deal Brexit amongst the SME community which is a hugely important generator of employment across the whole UK,” Croft said.