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City Corporation calls on SMEs to be prepared for ‘no deal’ Brexit

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Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are being urged by the City of London Corporation to accelerate their preparations for a potential ‘no deal’ Brexit with just over five months to go until the UK leaves the European Union.

With last week’s EU Summit failing to deliver a breakthrough, there is no guarantee that a withdrawal agreement will be reached despite both sides working to resolve the current impasse.

Many City firms have already put in place contingency plans to ensure they can continue to serve their customers even in the worst-case scenario. This is more challenging for smaller firms, however, who have fewer resources.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) recently conducted a survey that found a huge disparity between the preparations of the largest companies and their smaller counterparts. 69% of micro firms (those with 1-9 employees) have not completed a Brexit risk assessment, compared to 24% of firms with over 250 employees.

The BCC has put together resources to help businesses prepare and undertake a ‘health check’. The website’s Business Brexit Checklist will also help companies consider the changes that Brexit may bring, and help to plan at both operational and board level.

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation, said:

“Businesses need to be prepared for all possible outcomes given the Brexit discussions are currently at a deadlock. The clock is ticking ever more quickly so the time for firms to ensure they are ready for a no deal Brexit is now.

“This is why we are calling on all firms, especially SMEs, to prepare for a possible no deal and all the implications that might have for their business models. Larger businesses have been planning for some time to ensure they can serve their customers even in a no deal scenario, but it is concerning that many smaller organisations may not yet have realised the full impact.

“A no deal Brexit is not in the interests of either the UK or the EU so negotiators on both sides should work to avoid this scenario.”

The City of London is home to 23,580 businesses, with 99% of these firms classified as SMEs. There are around 1,200 new start-ups in the Square Mile every year.

Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK.

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