Brexit damage seen by 75%, independence referendum by 46% of business leaders in IoD survey

THREE-quarters of business leaders believe Brexit is damaging the UK economy, a poll has revealed.

The firm majority view emerged in responses to a question posed by The Herald to business leaders from throughout the UK attending a virtual global conference staged by the Institute of Directors in Scotland ahead of the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November.

Asked the question “is Brexit damaging the UK economy?”, 75% of respondents said “yes”. Meanwhile, 18% said “no” and seven per cent declared they did not know. IoD Scotland noted the sample size was 56.

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Louise Macdonald, national director of IoD Scotland, highlighted business leaders’ view that Brexit is having a “significant” economic impact, citing the effect on supply chains of skills shortages, rising costs, and empty shelves. And she called for government action to avoid further damage to business.

The Boris Johnson administration led the UK out of the European single market on December 31 last year. The UK officially left the European Union on January 31 last year, but a transition period during which the country remained in the single market ran until the end of 2020.

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Ms Macdonald said: “While the pandemic may have distracted many from the impact of Brexit, feedback from business directors attending our global conference is clear – Brexit is having a significant impact on the economy. In the last week alone, we have seen skills shortages impact the supply chains of many multinational companies and we are all too aware of rising costs and empty shelves in the supermarket. It is vital that the government takes heed of this feedback, and acts now to ensure that the business community is not further scarred.”

Asked whether they thought there would be another independence referendum during the term of the current Scottish Parliament, another question posed by The Herald, 46% of UK business leaders said “yes”, 38% responded “no” and 16% declared they did not know. The sample size was again 56.

Ms Macdonald said: “The responses show that slightly less than half of delegates believe there will be another referendum during this term, while slightly more are unconvinced or unsure. Whatever the decision by the SNP government, some leaders believe change is on the political agenda. Our conversations with members have shown us that, after 18 months of uncertainty, they are craving stable ground upon which they can rebuild and grow.”

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992