In a development that must come as a bit of a shock for the United Kingdom, around one-third of the companies in the union are planning to move at least portions of their operations abroad due to Brexit-related turmoil. The survey was conducted by the Institute of Directors (IoD), and as many as 1200 business leaders from the across the United Kingdom were surveyed. The findings are alarming. While 13% of the respondents stated that they were seriously considering moving operations abroad, 16% said that they already have their moving plans in place. After the results of the survey were revealed, the IoD that findings in the survey were ‘worrying signs.’
The UK’s business community has been in a bit of turmoil ever since the country decided to leave the European (EU) Union in June 2016 but the deadline to formally leave is 29 March 2019. Until now, the UK Government led by Theresa May has not been able to agree on a deal to leave the EU, and the disastrous possibility of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit now looms large. In such a situation, it would be damaging for any firm to not consider moving portions of their business operations out of the UK. The delay with agreeing on a deal with EU has caused immense confusion among business leaders in the UK, and the findings of the survey should not come as a surprise.
The study also pointed that some of the big firms in the country had already moved some part of their businesses abroad, but due to the events of the past month, smaller firms are also making plans to follow suit. The Director-General of IoD, Edwin Morgan said, “For these firms, typically with tighter resources, to be thinking about such a costly course of action makes clear the precarious position they are in. We can no more ignore the real consequences of delay and confusion than business leaders can ignore the hard choices that they face in protecting their companies.”
The findings of the survey can also be confirmed from findings made by other studies. For instance, many trade agencies in Europe have informed the BBC that hundreds of companies in the UK are now setting up shop in different parts of the EU as the 29th March Brexit deadline approaches. A government spokesperson said that the current leadership wants to protect jobs and that the best way to leave the EU was to “leave with a deal.”