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Businesses across the UK are reacting to the news that the country has voted to leave the European Union.

The Leave campaign won with 52% of the votes. It was called at around 4:40am, with the official result coming at 6am.

Ian Cass, managing director of the Forum of Private Business, said:

“Politicians now no longer have the excuse of EU interference and need to act quickly and effectively to offset what as most economists believe will be a period of uncertainty. This means the UK’s 1.3 million employers will need support in managing this period of disruption if it is to continue to drive the British economy.”

Mike Cherry, national chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said:

"Smaller business up and down the country now need a focus on economy certainty and stability.

"In light of the result this morning, there has been a shock to the market with the pound falling to its lowest level against the dollar since September 1985. Today we call on the government and the Bank of England to urgently put in place measures to prevent any further instability negatively impacting small businesses in the UK. Small firms need to know what this means for access to the single market as soon as possible."

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:

"The urgent priority now is to reassure the markets. We need strong and calm leadership from the government, working with the Bank of England, to shore up confidence and stability in the economy.

"The choices we make over the coming months will affect generations to come. This is not a time for rushed decisions.

"The CBI will be consulting its members and business is committed to wokring with government to shape the best possible conditions for future prosperity."

Rich Preece, Europe VP and managing director of Intuit QuickBooks, said:

“After today’s vote, there will be a transitional period while the UK negotiates an exit agreement. It is possible that negotiations may continue for several years so it will be business as usual for now, but SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) will have to monitor how the landscape is changing. One thing is for sure, throughout this period, managing finances is as important as ever. Whether this means a laser focus on forecasting, a revised approach on expenditure, exploring additional sources of funding or keeping overseas clients on side, putting the bottom line first remains key."

David Sproul, chief executive of Deloitte UK, said:

“Against this backdrop of uncertainty, British businesses must continue to be proactive in finding ways to raise productivity and drive growth. The UK remains a world leader in R&D and a hub for innovation. This will help businesses capitalise on the opportunities and respond to the competitive threats created by the leave vote. They must also play an active role in setting a vision for a new, post-EU environment which is open, pro-growth and delivers prosperity and opportunity for all.”

Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors, said:

"While this may not have been the result that the majority of our members wanted, Britain has voted to leave the EU, and it is now imperative that our political leaders manage the transition as smoothly as possible.

"The weeks and months ahead are going to be a nervy time for business leaders, so they need to know that the government is focused on maintaining stability while a new relationship with the EU is established."

John Brennan, CEO of Amaris Hospitality, said:

"International tourism is one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the UK economy as disposable incomes increase around the world. With sterling weakening on this news, the rest of the world will get more pounds for their currency, making the UK a cheaper destination to visit, and conversely making it expensive for Britons going abroad.

""We would, however, encourage government to provide clarity on the exit process and address the areas of uncertainty prompted by this decision as soon as possible."

Mark Posniak, managing director at Dragonfly Property Finance, said:

"How the Bank of England, the government, the financial markets and economy react today and in the weeks and months ahead will be crucial to how the property market performs.

"Caution, reduced transaction levels and downward pressure on prices in the months ahead are almost certain but we should not write off the property market.

"Despite the magnitude of the result, the structural supply issue underpinning the UK's property market may well prevent prices falling materially."

Geoffrey Bowden, general secretary for the Association of Translation Companies, said:

"Our survey of the UK’s language service providers, which are responsible for more than 12,000 jobs, showed that an exit from Europe will have direct impact on the sector. More than two thirds said their businesses with EU-based enterprises will be compromised by a UK departure, while 50% revealed nearly one third of their current revenue is generated from customers based in other EU countries.

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