Rising optimism for post-Brexit outlook among UK SMEs

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Rising optimism for post-Brexit outlook among UK SMEs (image credit: iStock/ Andrew Linscott)

A growing proportion of UK small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are gaining confidence in their ability to weather the fallout from the UK's decision to leave the EU.

Research published by strategic insight agency Opinium and reported by smallbusiness.co.uk has revealed how the outlook among small business leaders has improved in recent months.

In May, the body carried out research that showed more than a quarter (28 per cent) of SME leaders in the UK believed they would see the onset of recession in the wake of June's referendum on EU membership if a Leave vote was successful. However, this figure has now dropped to 18 per cent.

Furthermore, there is now growing confidence that the UK could undergo an increase in economic activity in the months ahead - a position that was far from the norm the first time this research was carried out.

James Endersby, managing director at Opinium Research, stated: "Now that some time has passed since that historic vote, for the moment we’re seeing that fear is starting to dispel and the outlook of SME leaders is looking up - this should put spirits in good stead as we start to enter negotiations and see the long-term implications pan out."

Indeed, the activation of Article 50 to trigger the official start of negotiations on the UK's extrication from the EU is unlikely to take place until early next year.

There is therefore plenty of time between now and then for a clearer picture to emerge of the true nature of Brexit, with the UK's small business leaders likely to react positively to this clarification in their outlook for the future.

Brexit remains a contentious issue among many sections of society at present, but a growing sense of commitment to the process among political leaders and the swift bounce-back of markets following the shock of June's result has served to quell some fears.

Indeed, research published by Barclays this month shows that 78 per cent of global business leaders believe the UK remains a "good place to start a business", despite the fact that the nation has decided to leave the EU.