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Businesses in the UK have ‘battened down the hatches’ when its comes to hiring new staff, following the vote to leave the European Union, according to new research.

The latest figures from HR body, the CIPD, and Adecco, show that 36% of employers intend to increase their workforce following the EU referendum, down from 40% before it.

And that figure was propped up by the public sector, with a “significantly sharper” fall among private sector employers.

The report said: “There has been a clear deterioration in hiring intentions… as a result of the Brexit vote.”

The CIPD warned that the figures suggest claims of an economic slowdown would be proved later this year. The organisation’s acting chief economist, Ian Brinkley, said: “While many businesses are treating the immediate post-Brexit period as ‘business as usual’, and hiring intentions overall still remain positive, there are signs that some organisations, particularly in the private sector, are preparing to batten down the hatches.”

John Marshall, chief executive of Adecco, which co-authored the report, said: “Uncertainty around Brexit is making employers nervous. This caution seems sensible but unless employers want to see their growth stymied, they need to take proactive step.”

Earlier this month, when it cut interest rates to the record low of 0.25%, the Bank of England warned that unemployment in the UK would rise from 4.9% to an estimated 5.6% over the next two years as a result of the vote to leave the European Union.