Almost half of young small business owners believe the UK will rejoin the EU, a new survey has revealed.
The poll, first shared with City A.M., showed a third of small and medium business owners think Britain will reapply to join the European Union, with young people more likely to hold this view.
Almost 47 per cent of SME owners aged 18 to 34 think the UK will rejoin the bloc, compared to only 23 per cent of those 55 or over, figures from cloud accounting provider FreeAgent have shown.
Age groups and gender comparisons on rejoining the EU
Those in the younger age category were also much more likely to say they hoped the move would take place, with two in five respondents keen to rejoin the EU, amounting to 38 per cent. By comparison, only 23 and 22 per cent of those aged 35-54 and, respectively, over 55, have similar hopes.
Roan Lavery, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent told City A.M.: “With a third of small business owners predicting that the UK will eventually reapply to join the European Union, and a further 1 in 6 believing it will apply to join the Single Market or Customs Union, it seems that many are pessimistic about how Brexit is progressing and expect to see a dramatic U-turn at some point in the future.”
According to the survey, male business owners are more likely to think the UK will not try to rejoin the EU, with 58 per cent holding this view compared to 44 per cent of women.
Meanwhile, 46 per cent showed concern about their business’s future.
Recent months showed benefits of rejoining – but Leavers can’t decide
Last month, it emerged that a Northern Ireland business owner experienced a boom in sales due to post-Brexit close ties with the EU.
Meanwhile, late last year, trade between Dublin and Great Britain decreased in the aftermath of Brexit whilst business with the EU has seen a rise.
This was put down to exporters and importers in Ireland avoiding Britain since January last year, causing a drop in trade by a fifth – whilst freight flow with the European Union was up by over a third.
In the first half of 2021, Brexit-related trade barriers rose to £2.2 billion in UK businesses costs.
An additional £600 million in costs hit British importers since January last year, according to HMRC data quoted by The Guardian.
Despite the figures, a survey carried out in September last year revealed that those who voted to leave the European Union could not decide if Brexit had been good or bad for British business, with a poll revealing they were equally split about the consequences of leaving the EU.
Whilst 23 per cent of Leavers thought there had been more negative outcomes as a result of Brexit, 15 per cent of them said they “didn’t know” and 40 per cent said they believed there had been a similar amount of positive and negative consequences.