McGovern – Report on impact of Brexit on SMEs “extremely worrying”

Brexit threatens the future of Britain’s most innovative and export-orientated SMEs, new research published today (22 January) from St. Andrews University has revealed.

In the first such study of its kind, researchers led by Dr Ross Brown and Professor John Wilson from the Centre for Responsible Banking and Finance, University of St Andrews, in conjunction with Dr José Liñares Zegarra from the University of Essex, examined the potential impact of Brexit on UK SMEs.

Key findings from the research include:

  • 29.2% of medium sized firms (50 – 249 employees) see Brexit as a “major obstacle” to success. 18.9% of micro firms (1 – 9 employees) feel the same.
  • Across the nations and regions of the UK, 15.4% of SMEs in England see Brexit as a major obstacle, compared to 21.2% in Scotland, 16.3% in Wales and 25.0% in Northern Ireland.
  • 33.2% of exporting companies see Brexit as a major obstacle, as do 23.9% of innovators. 

Alison McGovern MP, leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign, said:

"The fact that the most innovative SMEs are most concerned about Brexit, and what this report's authors call the 'deep-seated uncertainty' it has created, is extremely worrying.  

“The Government could act now to limit the uncertainty by committing to permanent membership of the Single Market and Customs Union. That would offer certainty and clarity to SMEs, which do so much to boost growth and create jobs in our economy."


Notes to editors

The St. Andrews University research can be accessed here:,1863531,en.php