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EU Referendum: What Does it Mean for UK Businesses?

You can’t turn anywhere at the moment without hearing something about the EU referendum (even on our blog it seems). Nonetheless, the impact of the vote on June 23 will be more than enough to justify all the coverage. Meanwhile, the question that refuses to produce any clear answers is what will a Britain outside of the EU look like?

Basically, it will come down to one of two things: life will either get more expensive for you, or cheaper as a result. There will always be winners and losers, however the vote goes, but what we really want to know is what the EU referendum means for UK businesses.

What leaving the EU could mean for UK businesses

Unfortunately, without a fancy crystal ball, it’s impossible to see what the real impact of a so-called “Brexit” will have on businesses in the UK. However, there are some things we know will happen:

  • The British pound will drop further (at least until we can prove it’s a safe investment)
  • No more EU membership fees
  • Rules passed in Brussels will have no impact on business here
  • We lose free trade agreements with member states (more than 50% of our exports)
  • We could also lose trade deals between the EU and other powers
  • We risk upsetting some of our neighbours in the process
  • The future will be very uncertain

There are some other dead-certs Britain leaving the EU would come with, but most points raised by politicians, economists and other exceptional sources are pure speculation. Because, it’s the latter that rings true more than any other: the future will be very uncertain.

Nobody really knows what the impact will be from Britain leaving the EU, but some businesses are certainly more at risk than others. And the outlook might not be so great for those of you who come to us looking for language services.

Brexit. In or Out

The impact on UK businesses with an international (EU) footprint

The UK business owners most nervous of a Brexit will be those who have expanded overseas or plan to do so. Once again, little is certain until we see the impact for ourselves, but the outlook is a scary one. Here are some of the key factors that would affect UK businesses with an EU footprint:

  • Dealing with European suppliers could be subject to new taxes, custom charges and prolonged admin
  • Selling to customers in the EU will probably become more expensive
  • Hiring staff from EU nations could become more expensive and/or complex
  • Dealing in business outside of the EU could also come with more restrictions
  • You could face being priced out markets due to rising costs, or lose out on profits

Of course, there will be winners too, should we vote to leave the European Union on June 23. Unfortunately, though, UK businesses with an international reach are among those most likely to be hit hard.

We don’t want to get involved in any of the political agendas being thrown around or claim to know how Britain as a whole will fare outside of the EU. But we know many of our UK-based clients are worried.

There are other potential outcomes, though

Despite all the gloomy talk surrounding a potential Brexit, there is the possibility Britain could leave the EU and hold on to certain trade agreements. The Norway option is a model that’s being touted by many, which would allow us to leave the EU while maintaining trade and market benefits.

That sounds like the sweet deal for UK businesses with an international footprint, should the vote say we leave the EU. Sadly, all that uncertainty and political agenda stuff comes back into play here, because many experts warn that model simply wouldn’t work for Britain. Back to square one it seems.

We also have the possibility to stay in the EU and enjoy complaining about it for many years to come. And, let’s face it, in times of uncertainty we tend to stick to the norm, rather than vote for scary change. The hopes of many EU optimists is that we’ll be able to negotiate a better deal with the union after we commit to staying involved.

Let us know your thoughts on the EU referendum – especially if you can put a positive spin on things for UK businesses with international audiences. We’d love to hear to some reassurance and many of our clients would feel a little better for it too!