US businesses' confidence in the UK decreasing amid EU tensions, new research finds

Mon 18 Jul 2022
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

US UK Business Confidence

US companies’ confidence in the UK has fallen due to post-Brexit relations with the EU, concerns about labour shortages and rising corporate taxes, according to a transatlantic commerce group.

A survey by the British American Business council, reported in the FT today (18 July), found that the average confidence rating of US companies operating in Britain was at 7.3 out of 10, compared with 7.8 a year ago. 

Leading priorities

Almost 80% of US companies surveyed said improving relations with the EU should among the UK’s top three priorities.

Duncan Edwards, chief executive of the council, said: “Concerns over the UK’s fractured relationship with the EU, its future tax competitiveness, and persisting restrictions to labour mobility and access to talent persist, and are the driving force behind this slip in confidence.”

The report also found a number of American companies were reporting “ongoing labour shortages”.

Starbucks seeks UK exit

The news comes amid reports that Starbucks is exploring the sale of its UK business.

According to the Times, the company is gauging interest in its 1,000-plus coffee shops, having already sold its South Korean operations earlier this year.

The business says Covid, supply chain disruption and increased competition are among the reasons for investigating selling its UK shops.

Starbucks said that while it had not initiated a “formal sales process” of its UK business, it continued to “evaluate strategic options”.

UK business confidence high

Separate research by Accenture and S&P Global, reported in Bloomberg, has found that UK business confidence is higher than European counterparts despite falling to a new record low.  

The net balance of UK companies expecting to see their activity to increase over the coming year fell from 56% in February to 28% last month, which is the lowest reading since the survey began in 2009.

Regional differences

Insider reports that the south east (excluding London) and the west midlands were the most confident at 43% and 39% respectively.

Business confidence in Scotland also halved from 34% to 17% in the survey.