U.S. Markets

UK's small business confidence unharmed by Brexit vote: survey

A woman works in a fish and chip shop in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall

LONDON (Reuters) - Small businesses in Britain remain confident about the economic and political landscape following the historic vote in June to leave the European Union, according to a survey by research firm BDRC Continental.

Early responses from a third quarter survey of 4,500 small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) show little sign of any drop in confidence according to BDRC.

A survey taken during the second quarter of the year as the EU referendum took place, showed that 13 percent of the SMEs rated the current economic climate as a major barrier to business while 10 percent rated political uncertainty as a major barrier. Those figures were unchanged from the first quarter.

Within the overall figures however, larger SMEs with 50-249 employees did show increasing concern about the economy, BDRC said.

Britain’s economy on Monday showed its clearest sign to date of bouncing back from the initial shock of the June referendum outcome, as data firm Markit said the country was unlikely to enter a recession in the July-September period.

BDRC Continental said its surveys dating back to 2011 show a continuing decline in appetite for external funding, with small businesses preferring to self-fund. That sentiment could change in the coming months, according to Shiona Davies, director at BDRC.

“Brexit has the potential to change the business context. For now, most SMEs are reporting ‘business as usual’, albeit there are signs of concern amongst some specific groups,” she said.

BDRC’s findings are used by the government to inform policy making, the company said.

Reporting By Lawrence White; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle