Businesses to move R&D out of UK as Brexit looms


LONDON • Over 60% of businesses are preparing to move research and development (R&D) facilities and teams out of the UK as they ready for life after Britain leaves the European Union (EU), according to FTI Consulting.

A survey of over 2,000 business leaders in France, Germany, Spain and the UK found a decline in confidence that turnover, staff and new business will continue to grow despite Brexit. The share that said they believe it would be better for their firms if Britain remains a part of the EU rose.

While most respondents still expect Britain to reach a trade agreement with the EU, more than three quarters said they are preparing for a no-deal scenario with “contingency planning that could have a major impact on the economy”, it said. Yet, fewer firms were making irreversible decisions than had expected to at the end of last year.

“With only six months to go, and a critical European Council meeting this week, business has clearly decided it will not get the clarity or certainty it needs to enable it to prepare for the longer term,” said John Maloney, head of FTI Consulting’s Brexit taskforce.“The impact on individual businesses could be huge.”

Prime Minister Theresa May has yet to nail down an agreement in negotiations with the EU, while a summit this week is being heralded as Brexit’s defining moment to make progress.