Brexit is now directly damaging business investment in Britain

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A man giving out leaflets to tourists is blown by the wind in Westminster in London, Monday, Feb. 8
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LONDON – Brexit is now directly affecting the investment decisions of British firms, according to a survey from the Confederation of British Industry.

Its survey of 357 businesses found over 40% of businesses say Brexit has affected their investment decisions. Of those, 98% said the impact has been negative.

The companies which reported Brexit had negatively influenced their investment decisions cited general uncertainty over the UK’s future.

The only positive impact they reported was the relative weakness of the dollar against the sterling.

Almost 60% of firms that responded to the survey said that Brexit had not affected their investment decisions.

The CBI, which represents 190,000 UK businesses, has been emboldened in its calls for a softer Brexit since Prime Minister Theresa May lost her parliamentary majority in June’s general election, which many saw as a loss of her mandate for a hard Brexit.

Last week it doubled down on its call for Britain to stay in the Single Market and customs union until a final EU deal is in force.

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI’s chief economist, said:

“It is reassuring that the majority of businesses that responded to our survey do not feel that Brexit has changed these vital spending plans.

“But we must have our eyes wide open: an overwhelming number of those that did report an impact said it was negative. Government must do all it can to reverse this. Today’s investments are tomorrow’s jobs.

“The Government’s increasingly clear commitment to a single transition stage is welcome. Firms are making investment decisions right now, that will last for years to come. They need more sense of clarity and continuity to support jobs and prosperity.

“To help British business remain optimistic and keep uncertainty at bay, the Government must work quickly to agree the terms of the transition and future trading arrangements.”