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Kent and Medway confident for the future despite Brexit and COVID hit, reports Kreston Reeves survey

2nd February 2021

Kent and Medway businesses are confident for the future, despite feeling the impact of the pandemic and Brexit, finds a survey of businesses attending the Kent and Medway Business Summit and conducted by accountants, business and financial advisers Kreston Reeves.

The Kent and Medway Business Summit survey found:

  • 67% say they are ‘confident’ and 26% saying they are ‘very confident’ for the future.
  • 30% say their business has been affected by Brexit, with supply chains presenting the biggest challenges.
  • 41% of businesses say their turnover has ‘decreased significantly’ with a further 26% saying it has ‘decreased a little’ as a direct result of COVID.

The survey of 59 businesses was conducted at the Kent and Medway Business Summit on 15 January by headline sponsors and award-winning accountants Kreston Reeves.

Other ways businesses have been affected by Brexit include import and export of goods, workforce, transport and logistics, intellectual property, VAT and duty and contract review.

The survey also asked businesses what they would like to see the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announce in his March Budget. The creativity that drives business is evident in their suggestions:

  • Encourage local spending.
  • Stimulate growth through tax incentives both for entrepreneurs to invest and businesses to retain profits/cash via enhanced allowances or lower Corporation Tax or a tax holiday.
  • Extend business rates relief, or scrap business rates entirely.
  • Phased removal of the furlough scheme to avoid the March cliff edge, and with greater support for company directors.
  • Fund a green growth strategy for Kent.
  • Grants to encourage new start-ups.
  • Reduce tax liabilities for SMEs encouraging them to rent empty high street units.
  • Reduce VAT to encourage spending.
  • Targeted support for small retailers and hospitality businesses.

Andrew Griggs, Senior Partner and Head of International at Kreston Reeves, said: “The Kent and Medway Business Summit was held entirely virtually this year, attracting a fantastic range of businesses from across the county, plus a truly stellar line-up of speakers.

“The over-arching theme of the Summit was resilience and the positivity businesses in the county hold towards their future. Despite the impact of COVID and Brexit, businesses in Kent and Medway are confident in their ability to bounce back and thrive.

“With all the economic, social, technological and political changes and challenges we are experiencing, it’s important that businesses remember to talk to and support each other, continue to look for opportunities, remain agile, adapt and innovate. They must continue to look ahead and plan for the future.”

Kreston Reeves has been part of the Kent business community for 200 years, helping businesses survive and thrive through world-changing events. For more information visit www.krestonreeves.com.

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