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Business Confidence Plummets as Brexit Fears Weigh


  • Brexit worry climbs to highest point for SMEs at 37%
  • Business Confidence drops from 1% to -4%
  • 65% of businesses expect to increase wage rates of employees
  • 77% of businesses report an increase to their motor insurance
  • 81% reported an increase to their business insurance

The results of the ISME Quarterly Business Trends Survey for Q4’18 have been released today with 9 out of 12 confidence indicators showing declines, on par with previous quarter. While employment trends are as expected, Business Confidence continued to decline in 2018, dropping by a further 20% in this quarter. Confidence for SMEs has not been this low since 2011 in our survey, as Brexit remains the biggest concern and economic uncertainty rises.

The Trends Report also captures data on employee pay, broadband services and business and motor insurance costs in the SME sector. The report notes the continued rise in insurance premiums and the latest pay expectations in the SME sector.

Commenting on the results, ISME CEO, Neil McDonnell said:

“Today’s results show worrying but not unexpected trends for SMEs. Business Confidence and Profitability Expectations are down a further 5% and 4% respectively on last quarter; while Exports show a decrease of 3% in the overall indicators. The report highlights the need for government to invest more in our indigenous economy. The report reflects the concern around the increasing likelihood of a hard Brexit.”

Our report further notes inefficient broadband services, and rising costs of insurance premiums.“


View the full report in the report’s section of the ISME website: https://bit.ly/2S9J8pN

For further information, please contact:

Wayne Tobin, Press, Policy and Research Officer

T: 01 6622755, E: [email protected]