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Brexit delivering negative impact on business for three quarters of independent trade

Published:  30 August, 2018

A Harpers survey on the current effects and possible outcomes of Brexit has revealed that 73% of on and off-trade businesses believe the vote has already had a negative impact on their business.

A further 25% responded that the vote has had little or no impact on their business, with just 2.7% saying it had had a positive effect.

Timed to gauge the mood of the trade post the government's July Brexit white paper detailing its departure proposals and ahead of the forthcoming EU Summit on Brexit in October, the survey looked to avoid personal political responses, asking for answers “From a business perspective…”.

Eighty six percent of businesses stated that they “wished the Brexit vote had never happened”, with 14% saying they “welcomed the Brexit vote”, and 85% agreeing with the further question “From a business perspective, if you had a choice, would you now prefer no Brexit?”

The depressed value of sterling against other currencies globally was cited as the biggest factor affecting businesses, with falling consumer confidence in the face of economic uncertainty also mentioned by many.

“All prices have increased, not only within the EU but from all over the world. Sterling is taking a beating from the USD as well,” was a typical comment.

Another respondent summed up the mood of uncertainty and apparent lack of government vision with the statement: “The unknown and the government's lack of a plan on trade deals - this is where the problem lies. It’s worrying not knowing how this will affect my business. What we can buy, and at what cost, and will our customers still be in a position to afford it?”

These Harpers Brexit Survey results have been complied from the collated responses from over 120 leading UK independent merchants and restaurants, revealing a trade that is far from satisfied with the current government’s grip on the issues at stake ahead of the next round of EU negotiations.

The full results of Harpers Brexit Survey will appear in this coming September issue and online at