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A NEW study published today shows that Brexit uncertainty is taking its toll on Scotland’s Small to Medium-sized Enterprises with almost half of business owners in this category stating that the ongoing process is impacting how they run their business.

Some 44% of Scotland’s Small to Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) owners reported that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit has affected their business.

According to research released by Nucleus Commercial Finance, 16% of UK SME owners said they have become more uncertain about making business decisions, while a further 11% have written off having a successful business year in 2019.

The survey found other responses that included 9% of owners have spent less time focusing on their business this year due to Brexit.

Some 8% have put off future planning and strategy development as a result of lack of political clarity

It’s not only businesses in Scotland feeling the impact of Brexit, the research found that the majority of business owners across the UK are feeling the same. In the survey which covered Scotland, Wales, and the English regions, Scottish SMEs said they were the least affected.

Some 65% of London business owners have said they were impacted, with 59% of SMEs in the North West of England saying they were affected.

In the league table, Wales came next on 58%, the North East and the West Midlands on 54%, the South East on 53%, East Midlands on 52% and Yorkshire on 51%.

The survey was carried out by Opinium who undertook the fieldwork between October 30 and November 4, gaining the opinions of 1004 business owners of SMEs.

Nucleus Commercial Finance is an alternative lender with a range of bank finance, spanning secured and unsecured loans, business cash advance and a range of asset-based lending products.

Chirag Shah, chief executive officer of Nucleus Commercial Finance, said: “The last three years of uncertainty around Brexit has clearly had a negative effect on small businesses in Scotland.

“It’s particularly alarming that a significant amount of SME owners have now put future planning and strategy development on hold. SMEs need to invest in their future to stay ahead, however today’s political and economic environment is not providing business owners with the confidence to do this.”

Meanwhile, activity in Scotland’s private sector rose for the first time since August, according to new economic research.

The Royal Bank of Scotland Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) showed an increase in private-sector output in November.

An increase in the workforce and a rise in orders in the service sector were key to the growth.

Malcolm Buchanan, Scotland board chairman at the Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “November’s survey data highlighted some positive signs for the Scottish private sector.

“Output rose with services growth outweighing the recent manufacturing downturn.

“Meanwhile, new business increased for the first time in four months, with the rate of expansion in Scotland second only to London across the UK.”

He added: “Nevertheless, uncertainty continued to subdue demand, with client hesitancy weighing on output and activity.

“A clearer outlook is required to boost demand and for the private sector to gain momentum in the closing stages of the year.”

Source: The National

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