Thursday 19 September 2019

More business chiefs feeling unprepared for Brexit

 

IoD CEO Maura Quinn
IoD CEO Maura Quinn

Shawn Pogatchnik

BUSINESS leaders in Ireland increasingly feel they are not ready for Brexit and want the Government to deliver a Budget 2020 premised on a UK crash-out from the EU, the Institute of Directors (IoD) has found in its latest quarterly measure of business sentiment.

Today's published report on the attitudes of 291 surveyed company directors and other business leaders shows that confidence is eroding as the UK government's October 31 Brexit deadline grows nearer.

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"Business confidence is plummeting," said IoD Ireland chief executive Maura Quinn. "Our latest Director Sentiment Monitor survey shows that the uncertainty evident over the past 12 months has intensified in the last quarter. The message is clear: Irish business leaders are worried, and they want the Government to take note and deliver accordingly in next month's budget."

Those feeling "more optimistic" about Ireland's economic prospects fell to just 15pc, down 31 points from a year ago and less than half the level recorded in the previous quarter.

When asked if they were ready for a no-deal Brexit, 76pc said they felt at least sufficiently prepared - down six points in three months.

At the other end of the scale, those feeling poorly prepared rose by five points to 19pc.

A full 92pc of those surveyed now believe Brexit will harm Ireland in the short term - a record high in these quarterly surveys since the UK's referendum result three years ago.

The number who think it will keep hurting Ireland in the long term stands at 58pc, up two points from the previous quarter.

When asked whether the Government should deliver a Budget 2020 that anticipates a hard Brexit - 89pc said yes, with just 5pc replying no.

And their assessment of the Government's economic management shows signs of growing unhappiness, with just 17pc viewing it as positive for their business, down 11 points in three months. Those reporting a negative impact from Government performance has risen by 10 points to 27pc.

The number of business leaders who expect to achieve financial gains in their company this year has declined to 50pc, a full 10 points lower than in the previous quarter. And they pinpointed the UK as a market likely to stifle that growth, with only 20pc now identifying the UK as an opportunity for growth, also down 10 points.

"It is clear that Brexit is the dominant concern as we face into what could be a difficult autumn," Ms Quinn said.

When asked what "keeps them awake at night", the business leaders picked "sustainability and long-term growth prospects" as their top worry on 53pc, up seven points from three months before.

A majority registered growing concerns about the tightening labour market and identified the expense and supply of housing as a key turn-off to recruitment of overseas talent.

Irish Independent

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