Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 12th June 2017
Confidence among business bosses around the country took a sharp turn for the worse after it became clear in recent days that no single political party would command a majority in the House of Commons.
The Institute of Directors (IoD) conducted a snap poll of its 700 members after the results of the June 8th General Election were in and picked up on a strikingly negative mood among businesses.
In fact, the IoD’s polling found a 34 point drop in the levels of confidence among company directors as compared with the figure recorded just last month.
Topping the list of concerns for businesses throughout the country is the issue of Britain’s exit from the European Union, negotiations for which are scheduled to begin in a matter of days.
“Businesses have shown in the last year that they are resilient to surprise results, but they have now been thrown into political limbo,” said Stephen Martin, director general of the IoD.
“With crucial Brexit negotiations coming up fast, in addition to the significant domestic challenges we face, the lack of a government with a majority undeniably creates uncertainty.”
Theresa May remains prime minister despite her party losing its parliamentary majority after the General Election and fears among business leaders are that a hung parliament will result in a problematic lack of clarity in government as the Brexit negotiations take place.
“If we do indeed see a minority government, both sides of the aisle must swallow their pride and work on a cross-party basis on the most important issues,” said Mr Martin from the IoD in a statement.
“The last thing business leaders need is a parliament in paralysis, and the consequences for British businesses and for the UK as an investment destination would be severe.”
More potentially bad news for UK businesses emerged this week as the credit and debit card company Visa reported on Monday that spending among British consumers fell during the month of May for the first time in almost four years.
Spending reportedly fell nationally across a variety of important areas for businesses including in the context of food, transport, clothing and household goods.