Business leaders voiced growing concern in the government's ability to deliver a good Brexit deal today as a survey revealed confidence had dipped to its lowest level in over a year.
Releasing its quarterly Brexit Monitor, consulting firm RSM said just 39 per cent of business leaders thought the government could strike a 'good deal' with the EU. This was down from just under a half (49 per cent) in the previous quarter.
The survey of more than 300 mid-market business leaders conducted by YouGov showed the proportion who lacked confidence the government could get a good deal had more than doubled to 35 per cent, compared to 16 per cent last quarter.
Leaders voice support for second referendum
For the first time, RSM also polled leaders on a second Brexit referendum. Overall, 60 per cent said they were in favour of, or would welcome a second referendum, while just 16 per cent said they would not welcome a second vote.
The area with the highest level of support for a second referendum was in London and the south, as 67 per cent were in favour.
Recent polling on Brexit has uncovered mixed opinions in the City. A poll by Reuters released last week showed just 630 finance jobs had moved abroad since the Brexit vote, contrasting markedly with fears after the vote that exiting the EU could see 10,000 jobs leave the UK.
Simon Hart, Brexit lead partner at audit, tax and consulting firm RSM said:
As we get closer to Article 50 Brexit day and therefore the end of the negotiation period, and with both parties seemingly at an impasse, our Brexit Monitor survey shows that middle-market businesses are getting more concerned about the UK government's ability to secure a good deal.
The publication of the government’s technical notices, outlining the implications of a 'no deal' scenario, may have also dampened optimism in the prospects of a good deal.
All eyes will now be on the EU summit in mid-October, described by Donald Tusk as 'the moment of truth'. Many businesses will be hoping for some much-need progress from both the EU and the UK.