9 August 2017

A survey by the Institute of Directors (IoD) has found that just a quarter of nearly one thousand business leaders understand how their businesses are affected by EU legislation.

Responding to the question “How well do you feel you understand whether and how EU law impacts your business or sector?” only 27% of 991 IoD members responded “very well”.

More than half (53%) opted for “somewhat well”, while 14% confessed to understanding it “not very well” and 4% “not well at all” (2% said the question was not applicable to them).

That means that 18% of those questioned still lack an understanding of how EU law affects their sector.

Even greater ignorance was found in relation to the impact of World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules on UK-EU trade. Asked how much they thought they and/or their organisations understand what moving to WTO rules would mean for their business, only 19% were confident that they “fully understand” the implications.

Although 40% claimed to “somewhat understand” the likely impact, 23% chose “don't understand very well” and 9% selected the response “don't understand at all” (8% thought the question did not apply to them).

The survey also found that 33% of respondents are not likely to undertake any scenario or contingency planning related to Brexit.

Contingency plans are already being implemented by 11% of those polled, while 30% told the IoD that they have begun to look at and discuss different scenarios and options but have not yet implemented any changes.

Commenting on the findings, the IoD’s Stephen Martin said that, with most companies not having made any concrete changes yet, there is still a window of opportunity for the Government to convince them to hold off triggering contingency plans.