August 10, 2012
In a poll of almost 2,000 of its members, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has found that the economic situation in the eurozone is top of the list of issues that business owners believe will affect their firm this year and next.
More than half (52%) of the firms believe that the eurozone crisis will have a significant influence on their business in 2012 and 2013, followed closely by cuts to UK public sector budgets (46% of businesses), and access to finance (42% of businesses).
However, the research shows that the EU remains the favoured export destination for UK firms. The majority (78%) of businesses believe that it is relatively easy to do business with other countries in Europe, compared to 62% of firms that believe it is easy to trade with the USA and Canada, and 60% that find it easy to trade with Australia and New Zealand.
By contrast, 44% of the business owners report that it is hard to trade with Brazil and 52% say that they have difficulties trading with the rest of South and Central America.
The survey also found more than one third of firms (35%) believe that the disadvantages of rules and regulations imposed by Brussels outweigh the benefits of being part of the single market.
John Longworth, director general of the BCC said: "British firms seem to feel that the balance of advantage of EU membership is lessening. While UK companies find it easier to trade with other countries in Europe, the lead is not as strong as it should be, and it is an indictment of the single market that it is almost as easy to trade with countries as far as away as the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The UK government must help to deliver a single market that works, and make efforts to stem the tide of regulation from Brussels that prevent business from growing."