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Brexit and auto-enrolment pensions the most pressing business concerns

British business owners are most concerned about the threat of the UK leaving the European Union (EU) and the financial impact of auto-enrolment pension schemes for staff members, according to a new survey by insolvency trade body, R3.

Almost a quarter (23 per cent) of UK business owners surveyed said they were worried about the financial implications Brexit would bring, while another 23 per cent revealed their concerns towards the impact of auto-enrolment pensions.

The survey was undertaken by BDRC Continental, with 500 UK businesses questioned as part of BDRC Continental’s monthly Business Opinion Omnibus.

The report also highlighted a number of other financial and legislative fears among UK firms, including the introduction of quarterly tax reporting as part of HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) Making Tax Digital scheme (19 per cent), the introduction of the National Living Wage (18 per cent) and the introduction of an Apprenticeship Levy (six per cent).

The most common financial concern for large firms (employing more than 250 people) is the UK leaving the EU (44 per cent), while the most pressing fear among firms employing two to five people is the financial impact of the new National Living Wage (30 per cent).

Andrew Tate, president, R3, said: “Although the Brexit debate is grabbing the headlines, it’s important to remember that businesses face a plethora of other incoming regulatory and compliance challenges.

“Just as many businesses – especially smaller ones – are worried about auto-enrolment pensions as are worried about Brexit.

“And while Brexit might not come to pass, auto-enrolment pensions and the National Living Wage will definitely have to be dealt with by businesses.

“That said, as you would expect, the possibility of leaving the EU is playing on the minds of a significant number of business decision-makers.

“Uncertainty over such an important issue could well affect investment and planning decisions over the next few months.”

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