Most firms unprepared for ‘no deal’ Brexit, survey finds

Ireland’s Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has warned Irish businesses to prepare for a potentially perilous no-deal withdrawal by the UK from the EU this October.

Mr Coveney was speaking after a weekend in which British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met privately with European Council President Donald Tusk at the G7 summit, where no progress has been made.

Coveney told businesses to “look at your supply chains, to look at your customer base, to make sure that you’re registered with Revenue so that you can understand how customs works, the paperwork that’s required for that, and if necessary to use the supports that are there, to take on the advice that’s needed to help to restructure your business if that’s what’s necessary and to respond to the challenges of Brexit.”

A damning new report, however, has warned that the majority of businesses that trade across the Irish border are completely unprepared for a no-deal Brexit scenario.

A survey commissioned by InterTradeIreland found only 6 per cent of firms in Ireland and the North are ready for cash flow and liquidity problems if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October.

The body, which advises small and medium-sized companies, found that just 6 per cent of cross-border traders have examined the legal implications for business contracts.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney

Aidan Gough, InterTradeIreland’s head of strategy and policy, cited these figures as “startling” evidence that companies were either ignoring or avoiding the looming threat.

The survey, based on feedback from more than 750 business managers on both sides of the border, showed that fewer than one in 10 businesses had examined the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit on supply chains.

Elsewhere in Europe, close to 100 companies have moved from the U.K. to the Netherlands because of Brexit and more than 300 others are considering doing the same, according to a Dutch government agency.

“The ongoing growing uncertainty in the United Kingdom, and the increasingly clearer possibility of a no deal, is causing major economic unrest for these companies,” said Jeroen Nijland of the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency in a statement.

The agency said in addition to the almost 100 companies that have already made the switch, 325 are considering a move over concerns about losing access to the EU’s single market.


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