Growth falls to four-year low among British firms in wake of Brexit vote – report says

A report has found growth has slowed in the wake of the Brexit vote for British firms. Picture: Stef

A report has found growth has slowed in the wake of the Brexit vote for British firms. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Growth among British businesses fell to a four-year low in the wake of the Brexit vote and a majority of managers now expect a tough economy in the year ahead, according to a new report.

Only 39% of UK firms surveyed by the Chartered Management Institute said they experienced growth following the June referendum, which was the lowest figure since 2012.

Of the 1,118 UK business managers surveyed, 65% are now pessimistic about the UK's economic prospects over the next 12-18 months, and 49% expect Brexit will have a negative impact on growth over the next three to five years.

Around 35% of bosses polled said they also 'lack confidence in current UK leadership and management's ability to capitalise on post-Brexit opportunities'.

Three-quarters of those polled said that skill investment would be even more important after the UK left the EU, though 20% said they did not receive the training and development needed to 'perform their job effectively' this year.

But only 25% were pessimistic about prospects for their own businesses, in line with levels recorded by the Chartered Management Institute over the past year, while 57% were positive about their business's performance in the year ahead.

Meanwhile, views on whether US president-elect Donald Trump would help or harm business prospects was split.

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'Looking to wider external influencers, opinion remains uncertain on what impact the Trump presidency will have on the UK's economic prospects - a situation that reflects the divisive political context and heightened economic uncertainty of 2016,' the report said.

About 40% expected an 'overtly negative' impact on the UK economy, while 31% expected a positive impact resulting from Mr Trump's leadership.

Ann Francke, CEO at the Chartered Management Institute, said: 'In this climate of heightened political uncertainty and economic turbulence, the time is now to position Britain as a global leader in responsible capitalism, targeting essential issues like workplace ethics, inclusivity and executive pay to restore trust and transparency and improve productivity.'

She added: 'There are uncertain times ahead, but I agree with many of those surveyed that there are opportunities for forward-thinking UK businesses.'