A leading Cumbrian accountancy firm says county businesses are so concerned about the impact of Brexit that they are putting off investment decisions.

Paul Dickson, chief executive and managing partner of Armstrong Watson, was commenting after a survey carried out by the APA showed over 50 per cent of its respondents were unlikely to make any capital investments over the next 12 months and nearly 60 per cent think the UK will be worse off after Brexit.

The APA, an association of 16 leading UK accountancy firms, including Armstrong Watson, asked 475 clients about issues and challenges facing businesses.

It found 30 per cent of respondents were less positive than they were 12 months ago and recruitment and retention of key people continues to be a challenge that most business are facing.

Mr Dickson said: “It is clear from the research that the biggest challenge for businesses is the concern surrounding Brexit and the economic uncertainty this brings. This could negatively impact upon growth.

“Recruitment and retention of good people also continues to be an important issue for businesses, although less so than this time last year as a result of Brexit being of greater concern.

“While operating in an uncertain marketplace is daunting for any business, there are steps that can be taken to prepare for a post-Brexit world and I would encourage business owners to seek the support of their business advisers to help support them through this transition.”

Armstrong Watson's next business owners forum, Business in a Post-Brexit World, takes place at Carlisle Racecourse on Thursday March 28. Business owners will have the chance to hear from experts who will outline strategies firms can adopt.