Study reveals one in five firms have Brexit fear factor


BREXIT is continuing to prove a plague upon the houses of London’s business community – with 22% of firms ready to up sticks because of the lack of transparency in negotiations.

Unsustainable hikes in rent and business rates have also been blamed for the exodus, the extent of which has been unveiled by prominent lobby group London Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

The LCCI surveyed some 500 firms and also discovered that 11% of London businesses have considered leaving the UK altogether, while 2% have already done so.

“What we have is a still unfolding picture of how business are reacting to a number of cost pressures and uncertainties,” said LCCI chief executive Colin Stanbridge.

Meanwhile the City of London is trying to bolt down future sectors to preserve its status as the world’s leading financial centre.

Earlier this month the Corporation hosted  a series of seminars, presentations and networking opportunities for a delegation of nearly 50 European-wide fintech companies.

The aim was to showcase the strengths of the UK’s fintech offer – worth £6.6billion to the economy and provider of 60,000 jobs – and demonstrate why either setting up a fintech firm or doing business here is the “number one option” in Europe.

The delegation – which featured reps from 14 countries – also attended a bell ringing ceremony at the London Stock Exchange.

“The UK is the global leader for fintech for a number of reasons. The City has supported this growth from the start and we have seen a number of firms become world leaders in recent years,” said City policy chairman Catherine McGuinness.

“We want to do all we can to make sure we support this growth, encourage firms to set up their businesses here in the UK, and help drive forward this innovative and constantly evolving industry.

“Events like today will help us keep our cutting edge in the world of fintech.”

But while plenty of attention is being placed on redefining relationships with foreign stakeholders, the LCCI wants to see a greater focus on reassuring firms of their futures at home.

Mr Stanbridge said the lobbying group’s latest inquest into the post-Brexit mood in London uncovered some worrying statistics.

“While this survey found just 2% of businesses had moved business activities out of the UK, perhaps the more worrying factor is that more than one in 10 have considered it,” he said.

“Unless businesses see serious progress in trade talks, which have already been delayed, it is not unlikely that we could see this figure translate into even bigger losses for London and indeed the UK.”

Photo by Daniel Chapman (Creative Commons).