Exchange rate moves biggest Brexit problem for small firms

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SFA Patricia Callan. Pic: Feargal Ward 08/05/2015

BY Andrew Fanning

SFA survey finds more than half of members have no contingency plan

A survey of members of the Small Firms Association has highlighted three main negative effects from Britain’s decision to leave the EU.

48 per cent of companies surveyed said exchange rate movements arising from the referendum were having a negative effect on them. 39 per cent cited the cost of exporting to Britain and Northern Ireland, while 38 per cent said pricing was having the biggest impact.

SFA director Patricia Callan told an Oireachtas Symposium on the economic implications of Britain’s EU withdrawal that Britain was a learning ground for small exporting companies.”The threat of recession in the UK is very real and we would be very concerned about the knock-on implications of that for our entire domestic economy,” she added.

The SFA survey found that only 8 per cent of small firms had a contingency plan in place before the Brexit vote. A further 17 per cent said they were putting in place a contingency plan immediately, while another 17 per cent will work on a contingency plan in the coming months. But more than half of the respondents (58 per cent) said that they did not have a plan or it was too early to tell.

Callan said Ireland’s focus should now be on issues it could control. She identified the free movement of people between Ireland and Britain, the cost of doing business and tax competitiveness as key issues for the Government to tackle in the immediate future.

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