Companies suffer fall in income after Brexit vote

The latest Citibase business confidence index found 56 per cent of Scottish SMEs would support a second Brexit referendum. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
The latest Citibase business confidence index found 56 per cent of Scottish SMEs would support a second Brexit referendum. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
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Scottish small and medium-sized firms have reported a greater drop in the third quarter in both revenues and their ability to attract capital since the Brexit vote, although businesses are taking positive action, a new survey reveals.

The latest Citibase business confidence index found that more than a third of firms have seen a drop in income since the UK voted to leave Europe, up from 25 per cent in the second quarter.

This suggests that the financial impact of uncertainty “is more apparent the closer we get to the March 2019 deadline”, according to Citibase, which offers serviced business centres for SMEs in nearly 40 locations including four in Scotland.

Additionally, 42 per cent of respondents cited extra difficulties in securing funding or attracting investment since 23 June 2016, up from a fifth in the second quarter and 12 per cent in the previous three months.

And 56 per cent of Scottish SMEs would support a second referendum, while 58 per cent would like to reset the Brexit process and remain part of the European Union.

But Citibase also found that 60 per cent of firms say they have already started, or are about to start, creating strategies to deal with potential post-Brexit issues. This includes de-risking when it comes to office contracts, with more than four-fifths now preferring office contract lengths of less than three years, up from 62 per cent in the second quarter.

Citibase chief executive Steve Jude said it is “reassuring to see many Scottish SMEs already making post-Brexit business strategies as they look to de-risk”.