ONE in four manufacturers have put investment plans on hold or expect to lose skilled workers and new contracts because of Brexit, a new study reveals.
A survey of 500 firms found that one in six believe business would become “untenable” for them if there are increased border checks on people and goods and changes to tariffs.
The EEF manufacturers organisation said its research showed how desperate firms are to have clarity from the Government about leaving the EU so they can prepare.
More than four out of five said they were not prepared for a no-deal Brexit and a similar number spoke out against having tariffs on EU goods.
One in four firms expected to change their growth plans, while almost one in three admitted difficulties in recruiting skilled workers.
Stephen Phipson, the EEF’s chief executive said: “Today’s research reinforces the need for manufacturers to get a deal to ensure they deliver for the UK economy.
“They also desperately require clarity to be able to prepare.
“It is absolutely crucial that an industry that accounts for 10% of the UK’s economic output and almost half of the country’s exports, prepares for exit day and all its possible implications.
“Industry is one of the jewels in the crown for the UK economy and can continue to be post-Brexit.
“It must however be given the opportunity to adapt and build in robust Brexit preparations.
“The Chequers deal is a pragmatic and realistic solution which offers a practical way forward.
“It is now essential that the Prime Minister is given the backing to deliver on it.”
Firms responding voiced uncertainty about future trade opportunities, with the United States seen as the top country for a new trade deal.
The EEF said there was concern that investors have started to look outside the UK.
The business group called for frictionless trade to be maintained, ensuring no tariffs on the import of goods, and an ability for workers to move into and out of the UK.
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