PRIVATE businesses across Europe are fearing the outcome of Brexit, according to study of their attitudes released yesterday.

In another finding which shows the Brexiteers to be scaremongers about the EU, most businesses Europe-wide say their national government’s bureaucracy is worse than EU red tape.

Brexit is feared more in some countries than others. In Finland, for example, 75% of companies are concerned about the negative impact of Brexit on their business, states a new survey from PwC.

The study of private businesses across Europe showed that British companies are the most upbeat about the potential outcome of Brexit, but only a mere 23% expect the outcome to be positive, well ahead of the next most-positive nations of Turkey, 15%, and Romania with 10%.

The study showed 68% of private businesses remain broadly neutral about the impact of Brexit on their business while just over a quarter said Brexit would be bad for their business prospects.

In the UK almost half of the private business interviewed, some 46 per cent, said Brexit would have

a neutral impact.

After Finland, Sweden on 59% showed the greatest concerns to the negative impact of Brexit on their activities. Some 46% of businesses in Cyprus and 41% in Ireland feared negative impact.

For its European Private Business Survey, PwC surveyed 2450 companies across 31 European countries, asking private businesses about a range of issues, including skills shortages, the impact of bureaucracy, Brexit and future growth prospects.

PwC’s survey revealed private businesses across Europe see regulation and bureaucracy in their domestic economies as a greater threat than regulation and bureaucracy from the EU.

Across the 31 European countries, 39% said domestic red tape was a concern, compared with 29% citing EU red-tape as a problem. In Italy, where Eurosceptic parties have recently scored electoral success, 49% of respondents feared domestic bureaucracy, compared with 20% singling out the EU as overly bureaucratic.

In the UK, 35% said Westminster delivered more red tape than Brussels, but in Greece, a staggering 71% of businesses said the Greek Government created more bureaucracy than the EU. The report says the survey is a wake-up call for national governments across Europe.

Pwc stated: “They need to do more to gain the confidence of their private business constituencies, starting with ensuring they deliver the minimum of additional bureaucracy and regulatory compliance.”

Paul Terrington, PwC head of regions, said private businesses believe their national governments are choking growth with red tape. He said: “There is a widely-held perception that national governments are more prone to introducing regulation and red tape than the EU and that they aren’t doing enough to promote the interests of small private businesses. Every political decision has potential economic consequences and the smaller the organisation the greater the potential for regulation to add to the cost of doing business. The private business sector needs to become more vocal in articulating its interests and making governments aware of the the constraints domestic legislation can place on growth.”

The study also shows that skills shortages potentially cost UK private businesses £34 billion every year.