BRITISH companies are losing faith in the UK’s post-Brexit trade deals and many believe leaving the EU is hammering exports, Government research has revealed.

A wide-ranging survey carried out by the Department for Business and Trade said almost three in five firms (58%) expected Britain’s new free trade agreements would have “no effect” on their business – up from 54% in 2021.

Optimism about the impact of free trade agreements also took a slight hit – with 31% saying post-Brexit trade deals would have a positive effect on their business, down from 33% in 2021.

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And many firms believe Brexit has reduced international demand for British products and services.

Previous research carried out in 2017 – before Britain had left the EU but after the Brexit vote – found that 73% felt there was a lot of demand for British exports, which fell to 55% in 2022.

Businesses are increasingly blaming Brexit for this perceived fall in demand, with 49% saying this came as a result of leaving the EU, compared with 39% taking this view in 2021.

Nevertheless, business optimism has increased, with 58% saying there is a lot of room for international growth for their company, up from 52% in 2021.

The SNP said the survey results exposed the “dire economic impact of Brexit”.

The National: Stewart Hosie

Stewart Hosie (above), the party’s economy spokesperson, said: “The Tory Government have found what we already knew – that their Brexit is terrible and damaging for business.

“Meanwhile, pro-Brexit [Rishi] Sunak and [Keir] Starmer will continue to have their heads buried in the sand over the ever-worsening impact of Brexit and the growing appetite to rejoin the European Union.

“While they both bunker down and do their best to ignore the dire economic impact of Brexit, businesses and the public are counting their losses and agreeing the only way forward is to regain membership of the EU.

“With every day that passes, Brexit gets worse for UK exporters and importers, and the public who often have to bear the brunt of rising prices and fees – a heavy price to pay during a brutal Tory-made cost of living crisis.

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“But sadly we’ll see no change or reprieve from Westminster, with both parties desperately devoted to the failed Brexit project which promises only to cause much more harm to our economy.

“We can reverse the damage of Brexit and rejoin the world's largest single market with a clean break from Westminster by assuming the full powers of independence.”

A UK Government spokesperson told The Times, who first reported on the survey: "Selective use of polling stats only paints half a picture.

“Fifty-eight per cent of these same businesses said there is a lot of opportunity to grow internationally and the majority of companies who are ready to export, or export already, are using our expert support services to grow their business.”