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KPMG research finds West Midlands braced for Brexit as almost one in four put spending on hold

Zoe Young, Managing Director for Financial Services Consulting At KPMG

Research from professional services firm, KPMG, has found that almost a quarter of people in the West Midlands (24%) have tightened their belts and changed their spending habits due to Brexit uncertainty.

Zoe Young, Managing Director for Financial Services Consulting At KPMG in the Midlands, said: “It is clear that people locally are uncertain about the future, spending and investing less while saving more. However, whilst people work to protect their finances from Brexit uncertainties, interest rates remain stubbornly low so savings aren’t really working for people.  The business world has been cautious about investing for growth since the referendum and that’s clearly playing through into the real economy and people’s financial confidence.”

The research also found that overseas trips have been hampered as over one in ten (11%) across the region have avoided booking a holiday in light of Brexit. The national picture found that interestingly, men are much more cautious about their money in light of Brexit than women, with over a third (35%) of men changing their money management and only one in four (25%) women doing the same.

Back in the West Midlands, it seems that Brexit hasn’t deterred people from spending on their weddings, as only 1% admitted to changing wedding plans amid Brexit uncertainty. And this was echoed across the board as nationally, women aren’t letting Brexit interfere with their upcoming nuptials, as none said they had put a wedding on hold.

Simon Purkess, Partner and Head of Retail and Consumer Markets at KPMG in the Midlands, adds: “These figures bring to light just how much Brexit has impacted people’s everyday lives. We can see this in the way that people are delaying significant purchases such as foreign holidays. When looking at travel and holidays in particular, fears around flight paths and border controls are clearly playing out in people’s actions, and of course the fall in the value of sterling won’t have done much to entice people overseas either. For consumer businesses, the focus has to be on remaining agile so as to ride this wave of uncertainty. Those that can achieve this may even benefit from pent up demand when clarity finally does return to both businesses and consumers.”