Businesses ditch billions of investment after Brexit

Businesses ditch billions of investment after Brexit

A third of British businesses have abandoned their investment plans in light of the EU referendum, as concerns over the value of the pound plague the market.  

A study from the Centre for Economic and Business Research and Hitachi Capital found the Brexit vote had derailed strategies for capital expenditure, as companies scrapped plans to invest a total of £65.5bn.

More than a fifth of the 1,015 business bosses who were surveyed cited the fall in the value of sterling as the main reason behind their decision.

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Uncertainty over the UK’s future membership of the single market and the country’s economic health were also reasons causing companies to abandon or postpone investments.

This comes despite a number of digital players in the financial advice industry pledging to plough ahead with their investment plans.

Robert Gordon, chief executive of Hitachi Capital, called on businesses to adapt to these uncertain times and “seize the opportunity” to forge new partnerships globally, while continuing to engage with the single market. 

He pointed out that 70 percent of businesses are likely to resume investment if uncertainty over the UK’s membership of the single market is resolved.

This comes after findings published last month predicted the British financial services industry could lose £40bn in revenue if the country becomes completely detached from the European single market.

If left unresolved, it is expected that these factors will continue to impact upon planned investments for 2017, Mr Gordon said.

Conducted between 24 October and 1 November, the CEBR survey found medium-sized companies’ investment decisions were the most sensitive to Brexit-related factors, with 44 per cent postponing or delaying plans.

This is compared to 23 per cent of smaller companies choosing to hold fire on investments, reflecting the fact that smaller sized firms are less exposed to changes in the export and foreign direct investment environment.

Mr Gordon said: “The fact that nearly three quarters of businesses would resume with investment if current pressing issues were resolved sends a clear message from businesses to the UK government – act quickly to prevent further losses.

“Looking outwards, not inwards, is how the UK will thrive in a post-Brexit world.”