Small business leaders have accused Boris Johnson of failing to protect them from the damage Brexit will inflict – with one third ready to quit the UK to escape it.
The prime minister’s strategy is savaged in a pre-Brexit survey revealing widespread gloom about the prospects for smaller firms outside the EU, which has been shared with The Independent.
It shows close to half of owners fear a “negative” impact on their businesses – while almost a third fear losing full access to the EU market with the loss of frictionless trade, and a further quarter in the dark.
Only 22 per cent said they had no regrets about the divorce, with more giving the loss of “free trade” with the EU (35 per cent) and of ease of travel (29 per cent) as their biggest regret.
No less than 60 per cent of respondents said they were dissatisfied with the government’s approach to protecting British businesses from the Brexit fallout.
Most strikingly, one third said they would consider moving either their businesses or themselves across the Channel to remain part of the EU and its huge market.
“If I were Boris Johnson I would be pretty worried – I don’t think the government is really looking at small companies,” said Ott Vatter, managing director of the organisation that carried out the poll.
The survey comes amid rising concern that the government – in its desire for “no alignment” with EU regulations – is prepared to sacrifice business interests. [...]
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