EU Approves Brexit ‘Flextension’, But What About Business Uncertainty?
How could a further three months of uncertainty affect investment and small business?
The President of the European council Donald Tusk recently tweeted:
‘The EU27 has agreed that it will accept the UK’s request for a #Brexit flextension until 31 January 2020. The decision is expected to be formalised through a written procedure.’
Tusk made the announcement after the 27 countries that will remain in the European Union when Britain leaves agreed on Monday to accept London’s request for a Brexit extension.
But how might another three months of uncertainty and debate affect the vital community of small businesses and the investors that support them?
Luke Davis, CEO and Founder of IW Capital, discusses the impact of the outcome on investment: “Small businesses in the UK are undoubtedly hoping for increased certainty over the Brexit deal and leaving date. Once the deal is confirmed the sentiment to push on with business will really be able to take off. As entrepreneurs and investors look to capitalise on new opportunities that are bound to exist after Brexit. Over the last year or so, we have seen a concerted effort to get on with business, regardless of Brexit and the eventual outcome.
One thing that we need to ensure is that entrepreneurs and investors looking to start or support a small business are not put off by the turmoil in Parliament. At IW Capital, we have experienced record deal flow and buoyant investor confidence. What Brexit ends up looking like will not affect the fantastic range of innovative, growing SMEs we work with that are likely to drive our private sector forward.”
Jenny Tooth OBE, CEO of the UK Business Angels Association, shared her views on what the delay could mean for regional businesses: “As negotiations continue to drag on and eat into the transition period, which was put in place to help business prepare for the imminent loss of EU support, we are at risk of running out of time to plan and make changes. Funding for SMEs in the regions has been somewhat forgotten about recently. This will subsequently impact regional SMEs more than larger businesses that can take the hit, or areas such as London or the Golden Triangle which receive the majority of domestic investment.
The potential loss of investment from the continent including the European Regional Development Fund, Horizon 2020 and the Jeremie fund could create a huge investment gap in UK. This is concerning not only for the loss of EU money, but the risk that Government support for finance to replace this EU funding may take time to have an impact on the ground.”