Access to the European Union’s (EU) single market is a priority for SMEs, a survey has revealed.
Of the 566 SMEs surveyed, two-thirds believe that the Government should focus on maintaining access to the single market in its exit negotiations.
Of those asked, 67 per cent said that the UK should prioritise agreeing a deal with Germany, while just five per cent would prioritise France, and three per cent would prioritise Ireland.
Access to the single market was particularly important to companies working in IT, with 74 per cent saying it was a priority. Media (69 per cent), retail (62 per cent), and finance and accounting (61 per cent) also prioritised the single market highly.
Geographically, London-based SMEs were the most eager to prioritise the single market, at 74 per cent, closely followed by Scotland (73 per cent), and the South East (72 per cent).
However, 46 per cent of SMEs said the Government should focus on support for UK exporters looking to expand outside the EU, and 62 per cent said that they wanted trade deals with non-EU countries.
The research also shows that SMEs remain “cautiously optimistic”, with over half saying they will continue with planned capital investment in the next 12 months, and 32 per cent planning to expand their businesses.