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Report claims almost half of Brussels businesses are prepared to leave region

11:38 01/12/2023

A survey has claimed that 45% of Brussels entrepreneurs are either considering leaving the region or have already planned their exit.

Taxes, cleanliness, safety and mobility issues were cited as primary concerns, according to the SME barometer from Brupartners, the Brussels organisation of social partners.

Some 6% of the 326 respondents to the online survey said they had already made a plan to leave the Brussels region and 39% say moving is “an option”.

Morale was low for many, with just over half of responding entrepreneurs indicating that the profitability of operations had deteriorated.

Frequent references are made to energy costs, labour costs and city facilities - works, pedestrian zones and shared spaces - with a negative trend reported when it comes to financial resources available for investment.

Brupartners calls the results of the barometer “alarming”.

“All the indices concerning Brussels entrepreneurs have fallen over the last legislature,” the organisation said in a statement.

“The survey clearly shows that the increase in wage costs due to the automatic indexation of wages at the start of 2023 has had a negative impact on the business of Brussels SMEs and self-employed people in all sectors.

"Lack of accessibility to offices and customers has also increased as a negative factor."

When asked about the themes that entrepreneurs consider important in upcoming elections, 53% said they want mobility issues to be addressed (infrastructure, traffic jams, public transport), 46% cited a more efficient government and 40% cited safety and cleanliness of public spaces.

Written by Helen Lyons