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Over half of UK business leaders call Brexit vote impact negative: poll

58 percent of leaders of the 500 largest U.K.-listed companies say Britain's vote to leave the European Union (EU) has had a negative impact on their business, according to a poll released Sunday.

Only 11 percent of respondents in the annual Ipsos MORI Captains of Industry study say it has had a positive impact while just under one-third say it has had no effect yet on their business situation.

Looking ahead, two-thirds of the leaders expect a more negative climate after the U.K. has completed its withdrawal from the EU, while exactly half fear the U.K. government will not be able to deliver the best deal for the country's businesses in its negotiations with the trading bloc.

Most are not standing by idly, however. 70 percent say they have already taken action in light of the referendum outcome of which 14 percent have organized contingency plans and 10 percent are moving business outside of the U.K.

Skilled labor heads up the list of items seen as most important for the U.K. to obtain during exit negotiations followed by securing free trade or single market status. The EU's single market allows its members to trade goods and services freely.

The medium-term outlook is not altogether pessimistic, says Ben Page, CEO of Ipsos MORI in the press release accompanying the data.

"32 percent of respondents said they think their business will start to feel the positive effects of leaving the EU in five years' time and the number of Captains that think it will remain a negative impact reduces to 45 percent when looking at long-range forecast," says Page.

"Businesses are also ready to adapt in order to survive, and thrive, with 96 percent of business leaders feeling confident that their company can adapt to the consequences of the Brexit outcome," he added.

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