AROUND 94 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK believe the Westminster Government is ignoring their worries about Brexit, and the level of concern is “incredibly high”, a survey has revealed.

And owner-managed businesses emphasised their single biggest concern for 2018 was how Brexit negotiations would affect them. This was a significantly bigger fear among such firms overall than other worries such as skills shortages, cyber attacks, and increased regulation.

Only 41 of the 653 owner-managed businesses surveyed by accountancy network Moore Stephens said they thought the UK Government was listening to their views on Brexit.

In the context of the UK’s exit from the European Union, the introduction of trade tariffs was cited as the biggest concern by owner-managed businesses, with a loss of labour from other EU countries flagged as another major worry. Firms also expressed fears that Brexit would result in the loss of European customers.

Mark Lamb, partner and head of owner-managed businesses at Moore Stephens, said: “Our research found that the level of concern amongst business leaders over Brexit is incredibly high. Whilst banks and other big businesses have the influence to lobby the Government for their own special Brexit clauses, there are concerns that small businesses will be forgotten about.

Business owners are hugely concerned about what Brexit might mean for them. The Government must take their needs seriously when negotiating the exit deal.”

Mr Lamb added: “Businesses thrive on certainty – it allows them to invest, scale up, take on more orders and expand their workforces. If the Government does not give them clear indications of what they can expect once the UK has left the European Union, it will be very difficult for many of them to invest in their growth.”