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48% of local companies have postponed investment decisions as a result of Brexit

Published on 17th April 2019

Almost half (48%) of the delegates polled at a unique Brexit one-stop-shop event held yesterday in Belfast say they have postponed investment decisions as a result of Brexit.

Over a third (38%) of those attending indicated they have changed plans around employment of new staff and 36% have changed their plans around entry into new markets.

Almost three-quarters of attendees (73%) cited customs and tariffs as potentially the greatest challenge to their business, followed by supply chain/logistics (51%), VAT/Tax (31%), and employment/people (28%).

Four out of every five delegates (81%) at the event said that Brexit has had an impact on their business, with almost a third (31%) stating they have amended plans around new product or service launches. Only 19% indicated Brexit had made no impact at all.

The poll also suggested that 14% said they were already prepared for Brexit, with 48% intending to prepare for Brexit before the October 31st deadline, whilst 38% prefer to adopt a “wait and see” approach.

Over 300 delegates, representing companies from across Northern Ireland, of all sizes and sectors, attended the ‘Practical advice and support for Brexit’ event which was jointly hosted by The Federation of Small Businesses, Institute of Directors, InterTradeIreland, Invest Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce.

The free half-day event focused on the steps businesses can take to prepare for whatever changes Brexit may bring, with sector experts and a host of information on support and funding all under one roof. The one-to-one clinics with over 50 specialist advisers in customs, logistics, tax, supply chain, data and employment, proved to be extremely popular.

Discussing the importance of the event, Aidan Gough, InterTradeIreland, said: “The Brexit deadline extension of 31st October 2019 has given firms an opportunity to take a step back and plan for whatever eventuality arises in the coming months. It is clear from today’s event companies are actively looking for the most up-to-date information available. We are here to help them navigate their way through the next six months.  Now is the time to act and companies should use this time wisely to put a plan in place for their businesses.”

Guest speakers at the event included Vincent Power from A&L Goodbody, an expert in EU Competition and Procurement; Karen Wheeler, Director General of the Border Delivery Group and Dr Andrew McCormick, Director General International Relations, NI Executive Office.

There was also a Q&A session where businesses put their questions to a panel of experts including Simon McAllister from EY, a specialist in Customs, Tariffs and Taxation; Ronan McDonnell of the Logistics Consultants, an expert in Supply Chain and Logistics; Laura Gillespie, Pinsent Masons and Philip McNally from KPMG, a specialist in People, Movement and Immigration.

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