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The impact of Brexit on small businesses in the UK seems to be non-existent, as more than have of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) say they have felt no impact on levels of business from the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

In a quarterly survey of UK SME owners and senior management across a range of sectors and regions, 24% said Brexit had had a direct effect on their company nationally, while a further 20% felt that it was too early to tell.

Regionally, small businesses in Greater London felt the most affected by Brexit, with 46% answering 'yes' to the question 'have you seen an impact on your business caused by Britain's decision to leave the EU?' and 38% answered 'no'.

The least affected was the North East, with 71% of those surveyed saying ‘no’ compared with 20% saying ‘yes’. In Wales, 69% said ‘no’ compared with only 12% stating ‘yes’.

Out of the companies who felt that there had been an impact on their business, 40% have seen an improvement in business while 43% have seen a decrease. The remainder (17%) said business had stayed about the same.

Engineering firms were the most positive out of all sectors, with 65% of firms’ surveyed saying the impact of Brexit has been beneficial.

Neil Davies, CEO, CloseBrothers Asset Finance, said: "It's clear that the majority of UK SMEs are yet to feel any real and tangible effect from Brexit.

"It's interesting to note that of those who have been impacted, it's pretty much split down the middle in terms of those who have been positively and detrimentally affected.

"There is also a real regional difference, with businesses in London feeling the most exposed."

Spending decisions

More than three quarters (76%) of businesses have not delayed spending or investment decisions because of the EU Referendum.

Regions most likely to answer 'no' to the question 'have you delayed any spending or investment decisions because of the EU referendum?' were East Anglia (87%), Wales (90%) and Northern Ireland (90%).

Greater London was the region most likely to delay spending, with 48% or respondents suggesting that Brexit had prevented them from investing.

Neil Davies said: "It's interesting to note that 88% of smaller firms – those with a turnover of £250k to £500k - were the least liable to allow the EU referendum stop them from pushing their business forward”.

Companies that said they had delayed spending cited the economic uncertainty created by Brexit as the primary reason (62%) for holding back.

Opportunities

Only 18% of business owners are of the view that the decision to leave the EU will lead to fewer opportunities. Tellingly, however 49% feel they anticipate no change and that it is likely to be business as usual.

The remaining 33% are looking forward to better prospects in the future.