The majority of UK small businesses would back a second referendum - or ‘People’s Vote’ - over whether to leave the European Union, a new survey has revealed.
According to new research carried out by cloud accounting software company FreeAgent, almost two-thirds (63%) of small business owners polled say they would be in favour of holding another referendum over Brexit - while just 27% said they would not back such a move.
The survey of over 700 freelancers and small business owners also revealed fears about the economic effects of Brexit, with 67% of respondents saying that they believed leaving the EU would have a negative impact on the economy and just 7% saying that they thought Brexit would be beneficial for their own business.
In addition, 65% of respondents said they did not think that leaving the EU presented a positive opportunity for UK freelancers and small businesses - and nearly a quarter (22%) said they had already revised their business plans or made contingency arrangements for their businesses due to Brexit.
Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent, said the survey results highlighted important concerns in the UK’s self-employment and small business sectors that needed to be considered by the government as it continues with its Brexit strategy.
“Clearly there are many small business owners throughout the country who are worried about the impact that leaving the European Union will have on the UK. Our research not only shows that the majority believe that that Brexit will be detrimental to the economy, but also that there will be no benefit to their own ventures.
“It’s also interesting to see how many small business owners are already starting to revise their plans or make contingency arrangements in order to limit the impact that Brexit will have on them. Rather than seeing Brexit an opportunity for growth - as some politicians have suggested - they clearly believe that it is a potentially dangerous obstacle whose impact needs to be minimised as much as possible.
“There are more than five million small businesses in the UK, yet many of them do not feel that their voices are being heard when it comes to big issues like Brexit. I would therefore urge the government to keep this vital part of the economy in mind as it continues its Brexit strategy, and to properly consider how to limit the impact that leaving the European Union will have on these businesses.”
What impact do you think Brexit will have on the UK economy?
It will have a negative impact on the economy (67%)
I don't know what impact it will have (18%)
It will have a positive impact on the economy (9%)
It will have little or no impact on the economy (6%)
What impact do you think Brexit will have on your own business?
It will have a negative impact on my business (38%)
It will have little, or no, impact on my business (34%)
I don't know what impact it will have (21%)
It will have a positive impact on my business (7%)
Do you think that Brexit will present a positive opportunity for UK freelancers and small businesses?
I’d prefer not to say (7%)
Have you had to revise your business plan or make any contingency arrangements for your business due to Brexit?
I’d prefer not to say (5%)
Some politicians and business groups have suggested that there should be a second referendum - or People's Vote - over the final terms of Brexit. What do you think about this prospect?
I would support this (63%)
I would not support this (27%)
I don't know (8%)
I would prefer not to say (3%)
Figures, unless otherwise stated, are from FreeAgent. Total sample size for this question was 740 owners of UK small businesses with fewer than 10 employees. The survey was carried out online between November 11th - December 4th 2018.