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One third of UK companies say Brexit is negatively affecting their business, survey shows

Firms in the wholesale, hospitality and leisure, and public sectors were most concerned about leaving the EU, according to the findings

The Independent Aug 30th 2018

[…] Business confidence fell this month by six points to 23 per cent, which Lloyds said was due to declines in trading prospects for the year ahead.

Hann-Ju Ho, senior economist for Lloyds Bank commercial banking, said: “[…] This reflects changes in perceptions of Brexit risks, which underscores the importance of current EU-UK negotiations.”

28 per cent of firms are saying they thought that leaving the EU is having a positive impact on their business activity, down 3 points from 31 per cent in July, while 32 per cent said that it was having a negative effect (up 4 points from 28 per cent).

Brexit concerns were highest in the wholesale, hospitality & leisure and public sectors, Lloyds said. […] Meanwhile, manufacturing firms remained most confident, with a score of 38 per cent, but the construction industry fell sharply by 12 points to 36 per cent.

Lloyds also found that companies are holding back on hiring new staff, while the proportion of firms anticipating pay rises also declined.

Sharon Geoghegan, managing director for SME banking at Lloyds, said: “Economic uncertainty is definitely driving firms to think twice before investing in their businesses.The services sector seems to be less confident.”

Brexit uncertainty has seen the pound rally and then fall back again this week. Sterling was up against the dollar on Wednesday, after comments from EU and UK officials suggested that a deal was looking more likely.

However, the currency pared those gains on Thursday after the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said the EU was still preparing for a cliff edge Brexit.

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