MAJOR concerns among Scottish business leaders about the impact of Brexit on their international trading, supply chains and ability to hire have been revealed in a survey.

The survey, by law firm CMS, shows 69 per cent of Scottish-based business leaders view Brexit as a threat, while only 15% see it as an opportunity. Among leaders of businesses with an annual turnover of less than £1 million, 82% expressed concerns about the effects of Brexit. More than 100 executives representing the renewable energy, life sciences, food and drink, and technology sectors were surveyed.

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Allan Wernham, CMS managing director for Scotland, said: “Our focus on four of Scotland’s key future industry sectors shows there are significant concerns about the impact Brexit could have on companies’ global trading activity, supply chains and ability to recruit workers.”

CMS noted concerns over Brexit did not appear to be linked directly to financial forecasting. Of those surveyed, 38% expect higher profits in the year ahead, with 31% forecasting a static position and 17% predicting a fall.

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However, 40% of food and drink sector executives reported a decrease in both turnover and profits over the past year. And 30% of executives in this sector say they have decreased their employee base, and only one-third expect profits and staff numbers to grow over the next three years.

CMS noted that, with people from other EU countries making up one-quarter of the sector’s 120,000 workforce, food and drink company executives had voiced concerns about their ability to find employees with Brexit looming.

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About 80% of business leaders in Scotland’s renewable energy sector expect growth in revenues over the next three years. More than half of technology executives expect their firms’ turnover and profits to grow over the next three years. About 80% of life sciences executives project a rise in staffing over the next year, but 60% expect recruitment issues.