SOME local businesses have been given a short-term boost thanks to recent Brexit developments, but almost half are “not confident” about their ability to cope with a No Deal situation.

Businesses’ planning for the looming exit from the EU will be one of the main issues discussed by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership Board when it holds its annual meeting on Thursday.

Members will be told that with many businesses and industries stockpiling goods as a precaution in the run up to Brexit, business activity has been boosted in recent months. But they will be warned that this boost is unlikely to continue.


The report also reveals that the percentage of businesses claiming to be confident in their preparations for No Deal Brexit dropped from 54 per cent in at the end of 2018 to 51 per cent in in the first three months of 2019.

Many businesses are “actively pursuing” more UK suppliers and customers due to uncertainty over future trading with the EU. Exports to the EU accounted for 60 per cent of goods exports from the Leeds City Region in 2018, compared to 50 per cent nationally.

A report to the board says: “Some Brexit-related issues appear to have given a short-term boost to national and local economies of late, with stockpiling helping to drive business activity, particularly in the manufacturing sector. There are however signs that the stockpiling-driven momentum may be tailing off now that the UK’s departure from the EU is less imminent than had appeared in late Q1.

“The delayed departure date for Brexit appears to have removed some of the urgency from Brexit planning of late, but the fact that only half of business in Leeds City Region still felt prepared for a no deal scenario late in Q1 suggests that the current lull should be seen as an opportunity to continue preparations, rather than shift focus elsewhere.

“Manufacturers continue to report cost pressures arising from raw material prices and exchange rates. Increasing oil prices will not help in this regard, with further rises anticipated. The prolonging extension of Brexit uncertainty will also likely result in a prolonging of the period of elevated materials prices and greater currency fluctuation, with some predicting sterling could lose some of its recent gains.”

Despite any issues related to Brexit the report says: “The EU’s dominance as the region’s main trading partner has, if anything increased in 2018.”

The board meets in Wellington House, Wellington Street, Leeds at 2pm.