Following the Prime Minister’s key Brexit speech last week, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) published its initial findings from a six-month research programme on the business impact of leaving the EU.
The first business research published since the speech underlines the importance of the pledge to secure the greatest possible access to the EU single market.
One in three (32 percent) small businesses are involved in overseas trade as an exporter and/or importer, with the vast majority trading with the EU single market (92 percent of exporting small firms and 85 percent of importing small firms).
As a result of Brexit, one-third (29 percent) of exporting small firms, regardless of destination, expect their level of exports to decline, while one in five (20 percent) expect it to increase.
The difference is starker for current importers, where one-third (31 percent) expect to see a decrease compared to seven per cent that expect to see an increase.
Mike Cherry, FSB national chairman, said: “One in three FSB members trades overseas. Small business exports have been on the rise since the referendum with the lower value of the pound making UK goods and services more competitive.
“We know that our members who export are more likely to survive, innovate and grow. As the UK leaves the single market any new agreement must maintain the current ease of trade with the EU and not lead to additional administrative or financial burdens.
“For a truly global Britain, we need the Government to enhance specific support for small exporters to reach new customers and to negotiate ambitious UK-specific trade deals with large and emerging markets.”