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Exclusive study unveils the gap in generational attitudes over Brexit's economic damage

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Family-run businesses are the lifeblood of the UK economy as they account for 88% of all firms in Britain. And according to a study sent exclusively to Yahoo Finance UK, 41% of Brits think Brexit has the potential to have a severely detrimental effect family and/or regional businesses.

In A State of the Nation – The UK Family Business Sector 2017, corporate financiers Capital Step surveyed 2,005 Brits to get their views over how they think the government is supporting business and whether they think Brexit will impact firms.

Most (62%) of Brits believe that the UK government does not support regional and/or family-run businesses as much as it does corporate entities in the private sector and that (63%) think that the UK high street is suffering as a result of family run and/or regional businesses not receiving adequate support from local council and government.

While only two out of five Brits believe Brexit will damage family-run businesses shows that the majority think it won’t severely affect firms, it’s more about the break down by age that highlights the generational gap in attitudes over leaving the bloc will affect finances. This is the breakdown over those who agree with the statement “Brexit has the potential to break family and/or regional businesses.”

  • Millennials (18-34 year olds): 52%

  • 35-54 year olds: 42%

  • Over 55 year olds: 32%

And this is the breakdown of those who agree with the statement “Brexit has the potential to have a severely detrimental effect family and/or regional business:”

  • Millennials: 48%

  • 35-54 year olds: 32%

  • Over 55 year olds: 32%

When Brits voted for Brexit by a slim majority in June 2016, there was a lot of focus on what age groups voted for Remain or Leave. The following table shows how the older people were, the more likely they would vote for Brexit:

Table: Statista
Table: Statista

“The role of family enterprise, community SMEs and bricks and mortar productivity across the length and breadth of the British Isles must be considered a firm priority for the UK government — deal or no deal,” saidJonathan Schneider, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of Capital Step.

“Transitioning the immediate aftermath of Brexit will be an acutely sensitive process; ensuring the foundations for a business community that can thrive and scale in the long term will lead the charge for a successful post-Brexit future – the UK economy is only as strong the businesses and communities that upholds it.”

The study comes as UK prime minister Theresa May heads to Brussels for an precedented summit over signing off her draft Brexit deal. Ahead of the meeting, Britain’s finance minister Philip Hammond said on Saturday, “this deal is a way of Britain leaving the European Union… with minimum negative impact on our economy.”

“But economics is not the only consideration. We also have to look at the political healing process, bringing our country back together, because… countries that are disunited and divided are not successful countries,” he added.

READ MORE: Here’s the crucial Brexit document leaked ahead of summit