More than half of tech firms have had no discussion about the impact of Brexit on business. Of those that have, 1 in 10 have talked about leaving the UK
Just one third of technology and telco firms in the UK, France and Germany have plans in place should Britain vote to leave the European Union next month, highlighting the uncertainty among companies based in the UK and those that have British customers.
A poll commissioned by law firm Pinsent Mason found that 35 percent had an ‘action plan’ in place, but 57 percent had not discussed it at a boardroom level. Of those that had, one in ten admitted to having talked about leaving the UK.
Potential issues include data sovereignty laws, freedom of movement of staff, work visas, as well as access to markets.
No plan B
“If the UK vote is in favour of leaving the EU, there will be profound implications for all businesses irrespective of whether they operate or trade in – or with – the UK,” said Guy Lougher, partner and Head of the Brexit Advisory Team at Pinsent Masons.
“Many businesses now admit to being in denial during the Scottish referendum about how close the vote would be. People are more switched on this time, but I think find the prospect of Brexit a little overwhelming.”
“There are some simple things that businesses can do. Foremost among those should be identifying any business-critical contracts and considering if they are future-proof.
“Any agreements which specifically reference the EU as the territory governed by the contract may lack clarity. It is likely to be easier to agree amendments to those agreements now, especially where contracts have not yet been signed, rather than after a vote when the people on the other side of the table will know that the clock is ticking.”
Tech in favour of EU
Research from industry body techUK suggests 70 percent of its members want to stay in the EU, 15 percent want to leave and 15 percent don’t know. The majority support the UK’s membership because it makes the country more attractive to international investment, makes the UK more globally competitive and gives it a more favourable trading relationship with other members.
“There is a strong message from the tech industry that Europe is good for business. Tech leaders are clear that the UK needs to be holding the pen on the laws that affect their businesses,” said Julian David, techUK CEO.
“A vote to remain is a vote to ensure the UK voice is at the heart of policies that support the UK’s most innovative sector to continue to grow and create jobs. A vote leave would mean that the UK tech industry would lose its voice on the issues that matter most.”
A separate study from Tech London Advocates showed 87 percent of its members oppose a ‘Brexit’.
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