The impact of Brexit is worse than anticipated and will be greater than Covid according to half of business leaders.
The results came in a poll run exclusively for The Courier at the Institute of Directors global conference.
Attendees to the virtual conference, hosted by IoD Scotland, were asked ‘will Brexit have a bigger impact than Covid in the next five years?’
Half of business leaders said yes, 34% said no and 16% said don’t know.
They were then asked ‘has the impact of Brexit been worse than anticipated?’
50% said yes, 38% said no and 12% said they didn’t know.
Brexit and Covid ‘extremely challenging’
Reflecting on the results, national director of IoD Scotland Louise Macdonald said the UK’s lengthy withdrawal from the EU, and Covid, has made it extremely challenging for businesses to properly prepare.
She said: “Businesses are now starting to see the scale of the implications of Brexit.
“It’s important that the government does not hit the brakes on supporting and advising businesses and continues to move forward.”
Ms Macdonald said members were concerned about the long-term impact of Brexit over Covid.
She added: “The pandemic has understandably distracted many businesses.
“However, adequate planning and consideration must refocus on Brexit to limit the long-term impact on supply chains, talent and contracts.
“Just this week we have seen reports of shortages in the FMCG and healthcare supply chains.
“If these continue for any length of time they will have a considerable impact on the bottom line of organisations and people’s health.
“Action and direction are needed at the highest level of government to prevent a worst-case scenario.”
Conference has ‘connecting the world’ theme
The Institute of Directors is an organisation for company directors, senior business leaders and entrepreneurs.
The theme of the conference was Connecting the World: Tackling our global challenges together.
Contributors included First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Chief executive officer of Scottish Canals Catherine Topley and lead for the Scottish Technology Ecosystem Transformation Mark Logan also took part.
The conference explored how organisations can take responsibility to tackle climate change and build sustainable businesses for a fairer, greener world.