By Lynn Baird
AYRSHIRE business owners today spoke about the impact that Brexit has had on their businesses.
The Director of Ayr Guitar, a shop that specialises in guitars but also sells and repairs a very wide variety of other instruments, Simon McCrindle worries and predicts a negative impact on not only his shop but Scottish business and the economy as a whole.
McCrindle talks about the impact Brexit has had so far: “There’s a general feeling of how the business is and where it should be at this time of year but there are too many variables to pin it on one thing. As a business person I wanted to remain part of Europe because obviously the government don’t have clue.”
Some positive but temporary effects were mentioned during the interview: “The initial benefits are great, goods are cheaper within the UK because of the pound collapsing but buying raw materials once these goods run out will cost a fortune, The price will go through the roof.”
He thinks that Brexit will push businesses towards the idea of Scottish independence. In his opinion, leaving the European Union has been ‘disastrous’ for Scottish business but he predicts that some businesses feel a deep rooted connection to the UK and will stand by the government’s decisions.
“Some will stick with Westminster until the bitter end but those decisions will not be based in logic or reasoning but in emotion, in some weird outdated ‘god save the queen’ mentality that is inappropriate in 2016.”
He worries that money is disappearing and this will negatively impact the young people of the UK and the economy: “You cannot run a consumer based economy when nobody has any money.”
Johnny Gelato is a newly opened ice cream parlour in Ayr. The business owner Lorna Hunter opened the parlour’s doors post-Brexit and has a far more indifferent approach to the effects of Brexit on her business. When asked if the vote impacted her business plan, Hunter said: “I didn’t even give Brexit a thought to be honest!”
These opinions come following a survey conducted by a leading Scottish think-tank that found that Scottish businesses did not prepare for Brexit. The Fraser of Allander Institute surveyed arounf 320 Scottish businesses shortly after the EU referendum. These businesses were asked; how the referendum would impact their business, if they had prepared for the result and what issues they thought were important in negotiations during the UK’s exit from the EU. The results found that 85% of business firms admitted to having done ‘very little’ or no preparation at all for leaving the EU.
Dr Graeme Roy, a former economic advisor of the Scottish Government and the current Director (Designate) of the Fraser of Allander Instutute told UWS News why he thinks this is:
“There are a number of possible reasons. Firstly, some businesses might believe that they are unlikely to be impacted upon directly by Brexit – so that will include firms who perhaps don’t undertake much external trade. Secondly, some businesses – and it would appear to be quite a lot – didn’t expect the result to turn out as it did.”
Around 40% of businesses surveyed thought Brexit could potentially have a negative impact on their firm’s future while 10% considered a possible positive impact. Two of the main key issues mentioned were the resolution of uncertainty and concerns over access to the single market.