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Only 16% of UK businesses trust government’s Brexit strategy, new polling reveals

Pro-EU campaigner Steve Bray checks out the government's new Brexit advertisements - Credit: PA

Less than a quarter of UK businesses trust the government on Brexit, new polling has revealed.

More than 40% said the coronavirus had derailed their plans to prepare for Brexit, a poll commission by City A.M. had shown.

In a separate poll by market research group Opinium, only 11% felt confident that a trade deal between the UK and EU would be struck before December 31.

It also found that 43% of firms said Brexit posed more of a long-term risk than the coronavirus, pollsters uncovered after speaking with 534 executives at companies.

One World Express chief executive Atul Bhakta, the company commissioned to conduct the poll for City A.M., said it showed that businesses were still reeling from the effects of the coronavirus.

Bhakta said: “However, as the end of the transition period nears, it is clear that business leaders are also having significant concerns regarding Brexit.”

This comes after a survey last week by the Institute of Directors found almost half of UK firms were not fully prepared for the end of the transition period.

The UK government is adamant Britain will leave the transition period at the end of this year, with or without a deal.

A government spokesperson said: “We are leaving the EU single market and customs union at the end of the year… This will bring a number of guaranteed changes for which we all need to prepare.

“To make sure the country is ready, we have published the border operating model to give clarity to traders, provided £84m in grants to grow the customs intermediary sector and announced £705m in funding for jobs, infrastructure and technology at the border.”

On top of current Brexit spend, the Cabinet Office issued £180 million in government contracts to private companies to deliver Brexit.

The contracts, which run from September 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021 were given to corporate giants McKinsey, Bain and Company, KPMG, Accenture, Deloitte, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) – six of the world’s largest consultancy firms – with an option to extend for another year, bring the total spend to £360 million.

Contractors were asked to support “the successful delivery of the UK’s economic and political independence” from “the EU and the rest of the world”.

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