No-deal Brexit will negatively affect two thirds of UK plastics companies, according to BPF poll

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25th July 2019 13:24 - Chemicals

No-deal Brexit will negatively affect two thirds of UK plastics companies: Research by the British Plastics Federation (BPF) has revealed concerns over a no-deal Brexit for UK plastics companies, with 29% saying the impact would be 'very' negative.  

Of the 83 companies polled, two-thirds said leaving the EU without a deal would negatively affect their business. 

The Business Conditions Survey for the UK Plastics Industry was carried out in between June – July 2019 and completed by members of the BPF with respondents made up of plastics processors (64%), raw materials producers and distributors (15%), Machinery and equipment (13%) and Recyclers (8%) sectors. 

The survey revealed an increase in the number of companies which have made contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit - rising from 53% in December 2018 to 62% in June 2019. In terms of support for preparing their businesses for Brexit, 62% said they had received information from the Government about Brexit, however just 33% said it had been helpful. 

Looking at investment, the survey revealed that 38% of companies are planning less investment because of the effects of Brexit, with just 13% reporting plans to increase investment. A fifth of companies predict that export trade will reduce over the coming year, however, more than four in ten (41%) think it will increase, with 39% predicting no change. Fifty-seven percent (57%) said they plan to invest a little in plant and equipment over the next 12 months, with 28% saying they plan 'significant' investment and 15% reporting there will be no investment in the next year.

A third of those polled predict profit margins will increase, with three in ten expecting a slump in profit (30%) and 37% expecting it to remain the same. 

Looking at skills needs across the sector, more than half the respondents (56%) said they were having difficulty recruiting staff, while a quarter (25%) were having no issues. Eighteen percent (18%) said they were not currently recruiting. 

BPF director general Philip Law said: “What is good or bad for the plastics industry acts as a barometer for what is good or bad for the UK economy as a whole.”

"We see a no-deal Brexit as a dramatic act of self-sabotage that will have long term negative impacts on the plastics industry which otherwise has great potential for job creation and global business development."

You can access the full Business Conditions survey here 

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