Three quarters (74%) of business leaders expect the general economic condition of the country will decline over the next 12 months, according to Ipsos Mori research.
Ipsos Mori conducted 100 interviews with board members from the top 500 companies by turnover and the top 100 by capital employed in the UK and found increased negativity as Brexit draws nearer, with the result up from 66% this time last year.
Ben Page, chief executive of Ipsos Mori, said: “Britain’s largest businesses feel Brexit is having a more profound impact on British business than our business leaders thought it would a year ago – 67% of Captains think that their company is worse off.
“As with the public, business is losing confidence in the government’s ability to manage Brexit, but have no confidence in Labour doing any better.
“More positively, most think they will adapt, but nearly all think leaving the EU with No Deal will be bad for their business”
The overwhelming majority of the FTSE 500 see the resolution of uncertainty around Brexit as the most important issue facing Britain today (95%), the research organisation found.
“Most are not confident in the ability of the government to negotiate a good deal for UK businesses with the EU (68%). Only one fifth (19%) of business leaders agree they are confident - down from 28% last year,” said a statement issued by Ipsos Mori.
Business leaders’ confidence in economic policy remains low.
Ipsos Mori found that a third (38%) disagreed with the statement that in the long term, this Government’s policies will improve the state of the British economy, which remains unchanged since last year.
At the same time they prefer the Conservative government to those of the opposition, with 94% of business leaders disagreeing that Labour’s policies would improve the state of the British economy.
Over half (55%) of business leaders view the decision to leave the EU as a significant risk to their company and three quarters (73%) disagree with the statement that the decision to leave the EU will bring significant new opportunities for their company.
However, despite their pessimism, nearly all (92%) the FTSE 500 bosses interviewed as part of the survey said they were confident that their company can adapt to the consequences of leaving the EU and half of business leaders (50%) expect the business for their own company to improve over the next 12 months, with one fifth (19%) expecting it to get worse.