'£65.5bn worth of investments' abandoned by UK businesses since Brexit vote

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A third of British businesses have abandoned investments worth £65.5 billion amid uncertainty following the Brexit vote, a new survey shows. 

A YouGov poll of 1,015 business decision makers found that 33% had either delayed or scrapped investment plans for "Brexit related reasons", with sterling weakness or related inflationary affects the mostly highly cited concern.

The survey, commissioned by Hitachi Capital and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), found that 42% of large businesses had ditched investment plans, while 44% of medium sized businesses, and 32% of small enterprise had done the same. 

The industry most likely to have abandoned investments was the IT and telecoms industry at 41%, the poll found.

"Based on the responses given by businesses on the value of their investment altered for reasons related to Brexit, we estimate the total value of abandoned and delayed investments since Brexit to be £65.5 billion.This reflects delays and cancellations to future investment, as well as current investment," the report said.

Aside from sterling woes, companies said they were tightening purse strings due to uncertainty regarding economic health following the referendum, and concerns over whether the UK would remain a member of the European Union's single market.

However, 70% of businesses are likely to resume investment if uncertainty over the UK's membership in the single market is "resolved", Hitachi Capital chief executive Robert Gordon said. 

Mr Gordon says a more favourable trade deal could be secured if businesses ramp up investments and maintain ties with the bloc. 

He added: "Exports from the EU to the UK totalled £290 billion in 2015, firmly cementing the UK's place as a crucial trade partner. With this in mind, businesses must not forget we are in a strong position when it comes to ensuring that the UK negotiates the best possible trade deals.

"We must pull together and continue to make investments to send this message to the rest of the world. Looking outwards, not inwards, is how the UK will thrive in a post-Brexit world."