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Only a quarter of UK firms ready for Brexit transition

[LONDON] Only one-quarter of business leaders say their organisations are fully ready for the end of the Brexit transition period, according to a survey by the Institute of Directors.

Nearly half of the 978 company directors polled late last month said they weren't able to prepare for a transition now, and one in seven said they were focused on the coronavirus pandemic, the survey said. Almost a third said they need more clarity about forthcoming changes before they make any adjustments.

"With so much going on, many directors feel that preparing for Brexit proper is like trying to hit a moving target," Jonathan Geldart, director general of the Institute of Directors, said in the statement. "Jumping immediately into whatever comes next would be a nightmare for many businesses."

The financial sector is the most prepared, while manufacturers had the most to do, the survey said.

As many as 69 per cent of respondents said reaching a deal was important for their organizations. And even more, 89 per cent, highlighted its importance to the overall economy. Even among the directors who favored shifting away from EU rules, 71 per cent said a resolution was important for the economy.

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The Institute of Directors also reiterated its call for financial support for small firms to access specialist help and advice on a range of Brexit impact areas, such as tax credits or "Brexit vouchers."

"A commitment to some form of reciprocal phasing-in of changes once clear is a long-standing ask from our members, and the benefits would be significant," Mr Geldart said. "At a time when government is rightly straining every sinew to help firms deal with widespread disruption, it would be counterproductive not to seek to minimize it at the end of the year."

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