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UK small firms cut investment plans to lowest in two years - survey

UK small firms cut investment plans to lowest in two years - survey
FILE PHOTO: Workers cross London Bridge, with Tower Bridge seen behind during the morning rush hour in the city of London, Britain, February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville -
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LONDON (Reuters) – Small businesses in Britain plan the least investment in two years as uncertainty about Brexit drags on, a survey showed on Tuesday.

Nearly three quarters of small firms said they will not increase capital investment over the coming quarter, the survey by the Federation of Small Businesses found.

“It’s impossible for small business owners to invest for the future when we don’t know what the future holds,” FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said.

Britain has secured an extension of the Brexit deadline to Oct. 31. Both candidates to replace Theresa May as prime minister say they are prepared to take the country out of the European Union without a transition deal if necessary.

Businesses cut back on investment throughout 2018, official data has shown, the longest such run since the financial crisis a decade ago, raising concerns about damage to Britain’s long-term growth prospects.

The FSB survey also found the net balance of small firms increasing staff was at a three-year low as employers struggled to find the right candidates with Britain’s unemployment rate at its lowest in more than 40 years.

The FSB surveyed 982 small businesses between May 13 and 27.

(Reporting by Bella Barber; Editing by William Schomberg)

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