Worries over the impact of Brexit among Peterborough business leaders have surfaced in a new survey of city employers.
The findings come just a week before Prime Minister Theresa May triggers Article 50 which will signal the start of the UK’s departure from the European Union after 45 years.
According to the fourth annual Greater Peterborough Business Survey, more directors fear the performance of their businesses will suffer following Brexit than those who feel leaving the EU will make their enterprise stronger.
However the gap between the two views is small.
The survey shows that 58 per cent of business leaders felt overall performance would be better without Brexit taking place. That slipped to 54 per cent if the impact of Brexit was included.
Mark Jackson, a partner at chartered accountants Rawlinsons, said that 79 per cent of businesses in the greater Peterborough area were expecting an increase in operating costs in 2017 and that this has been adversely affected by Brexit.
He said: “It is a mixed result on Brexit.”
He added: “Everyone is waiting for more detail to come out and will need to adapt to suit.
“Many businesses are saying there will be little or no impact, others are concerned about the impact of a period of uncertainty and exchange rate fluctuations.
“There will no doubt be some sectors where the impact is greater.”
The findings were presented to about 100 business leaders at a breakfast briefing hosted by economic development company Opportunity Peterborough.
The survey also revealed the majority of city businesses - 52 per cent - enjoyed a prosperous 12 months last year. However, that is down from 58 per cent of firms that saw a strong performance in 2015.
About four times more businesses are expecting to invest in staff and capital projects next year than those who are not, but 62 per cent of businesses are still struggling to recruit the right staff
The survey was prepared by Rawlinsons with Opportunity Peterborough and was completed by 130 businesses.