Saturday 18 January 2020

'There is clearly an information gap' - Almost 80pc of firms report Government is not helping them enough to prepare for Brexit

Louise Kelly

The majority of companies in Ireland maintain that the Government is not helping them enough ahead of Brexit, according to a leading accountancy firm.

In a business sentiment survey carried out by BDO, four out of five companies say they are not being provided with enough information to adequately prepare for Brexit.

"The survey reflects the volatility of markets and the different views of Brexit by both London and Brussels, and how that has led to a growing frustration amongst Irish businesses," BDO’s managing partner, Michael Costello said.

"There is clearly an information gap and uncertainty. The sooner these are addressed, by the lead negotiators, the better. It is an evolving situation, but businesses are calling for clarity."

Despite the recent UK election result of a hung parliament - which indicates more of a possibility of a soft Brexit - optimism levels have dropped.

BDO’s ‘Optimism Index’ is down marginally from this point last year, slipping from 66.7 in 2016 to 65.9 in 2017.

However, this index has still achieved an improvement of 15pc over the last four years, with medium to large firms in the services sector the most optimistic.

Furthermore, only 46pc of companies expect growth in business activity in the next quarter - a drop of 7pc from the same period last year

"We are advising clients who may be affected by Brexit to analyse their supply chains and business strategy, so that they can isolate their exposure to the British market," said Mr Costello.

"There are state services and grants available such as the Enterprise Ireland Brexit scorecard and ‘Be Prepared’ grant. Firms such as BDO as well as Enterprise Ireland and Local Enterprise offices are resources that should be utilised by firms to assist with this preparatory work."

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