In a survey conducted by market research company Ipsos MORI for the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK, 75% of Swedish companies operating in the UK say Brexit would be bad for business and only 2% that it would have a positive impact. 75% said it would have a direct negative impact on their business and 54% say that a Brexit would impact decisions to decrease future investment into the UK.
“It was not surprising that a large number of Swedish companies from within our network thought a potential Brexit would have a negative impact on business, but we were not expecting such an overwhelming majority,” says Ulla Nilsson, Managing Director of the Swedish Chamber in London.
The survey, conducted together with the Chambers of Commerce of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, was carried out through 667 online interviews between 19 April and 2 May 2016. 102 Swedish companies took part in the survey.
The majority of Swedish businesses (75%) with operations in the UK believe that a potential Brexit would be negative for them, according to the survey. A handful (2%) think a vote for Brexit in the 23rd June referendum would be positive for their business, with the remainder saying either that the effect would be neither positive nor negative (17%) or that they do not know (6%). Among those saying the impact would be negative, more think the impact would be “very” rather than “fairly” negative (38% very, 37% fairly).
Respondents were asked a follow-up question about the impact of Brexit on likely future investment in the UK. A clear majority say that this impact would most likely be negative (54%); a few (4%) take the opposite view. Around one in four say that Brexit would most likely have no effect either way (35%) with a further 7% unsure either way.
How negative might Brexit be, according to these businesses? One in three (28%) say the impact in terms of future investment in the UK would be “very negative” – i.e. a decrease in investment greater than 10% than would otherwise be the case – while slightly fewer (25%) believe Brexit would have a “fairly negative” impact i.e. there would be a decrease in their level of investment, but of less than 10%.
“It would be regrettable if a Brexit would mean less future investment by Swedish companies in the UK, a very important and growing market for Swedish export. We saw a very positive trend last year, in particular within the service industries,” says Nilsson.