More than half of people in the South East expect a ‘no deal’ Brexit

Westergate, West Sussex

A survey of 3,044 members of the British public commissioned by KPMG shows all demographic, employment and political groups believe a ‘No Deal’ Brexit is more likely than not (overall 54% said a ‘No Deal’ Brexit was likely and 20% said unlikely).  In the South East 53% of the 415 people surveyed said ‘No Deal’ is more likely than not.

The poll also reveals that a clear majority of respondents from the region believe a ‘No Deal’ scenario would have a significant impact on their life: 67% think prices would rise (70% nationally).  Also 39% of respondents in the South East (45% nationally) believe a no-deal’ scenario will be bad for the country compared with 28%  (25% nationally) who think it will be good.

Explaining the findings Tim Rush, Managing Director for KPMG’s office in Gatwick said:

“This survey shows the public expect a ‘no deal’ Brexit and are anticipating substantial disruption in the short to medium-term, before they expect Brexit to have a more positive effect on the economy in the medium to long term.  During this period of disruption Brits expect prices to go up, delays at airports and sea ports, plus a potential hit to the pound. The mood music of the Brexit talks is likely to have a direct effect on consumer confidence.”

In terms of behavioural change in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit:

  • 41% of respondents in the South East (43% nationally) said they were very likely or likely to cut everyday spending.
  • 41% of respondents in the South East (45% nationally) said they were very likely or likely to cut non-essential spending.
  • 44% of respondents in the South East (48% nationally) said they were very likely or likely to cut luxury spending.
  • 45% of respondents in the South East and (47% nationally) said they were very likely or likely to delay major purchases.

The people most likely to alter their consumer behaviour in the event of ‘No Deal’ (from stockpiling food to cutting essential spending) are: those with concerns about prices rising as a consequence of ‘No Deal’, those under 35 and those who are female.

Explaining how these findings could affect the retail industry, Mr Rush added:

“Too few businesses have fully considered how consumer buying patterns may change if a no-deal scenario were to occur.  We often find companies stockpiling inventory to mitigate potential customs delays without calculating how a squeeze on liquidity or a reduction in discretionary spend could affect their cashflow.  Consumers, especially those of working age, are genuinely worried about price increases and travel delays and if no deal does become a reality we will see cutbacks on everything from the weekly shop, to handbags, holidays, cars and other major purchases.”

With Brexit bringing so much uncertainty, the British public are keen to hear more about what may lie ahead from several groups. Chief amongst them are small businesses, farmers, manufacturers, exporters and NHS staff. Leavers in particular also want to hear more from the fishing industry.

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