Business World

Monday 23 October 2017

Four fifths of UK firms want Britain to stay in EU – CBI survey

Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

FOUR out of five UK companies want Britain to stay in the EU, according to new research by UK’s biggest business lobby.

Of the 415 firms surveyed by the Confederation of British Industry, only 10pc said Britain should leave the trading bloc.

The possibility of Britain breaking its 40 year ties with the EU gathered pace in January when Prime Minister David Cameron said he would negotiate a new role in Europe and hold a referendum by 2017 asking voters whether they wanted to stay in or leave if his Conservative government is re-elected in 2015.

This would have serious ramifications for Ireland, as Britain is by far our largest trading partner.

In the CBI poll, two thirds of British companies thought leaving the EU would damage trade with European markets. Some 47pc said it would make it harder to find skilled workers, while 3pc said it would be easier. Just over half said it would harm competitiveness, against 15pc who thought it would help.

“Firms want what is best for jobs and growth, and there is genuine concern that an exit would hit business investment and access to the world’s largest trading bloc,” said the industry body’s director general John Cridland.

“Businesses do have some serious concerns about the EU, but ultimately they want the UK inside the tent winning the argument for reform.”

The results show a far more friendly view than the more Euro-sceptic British public. A separate poll released earlier this week found that 43pc of Britons would choose to leave the EU while 39pc would opt to remain in if a referendum were held now.

The CBI survey did find that there is frustration among business leaders with Britain’s current relationship with the EU and the burden of regulation. However the benefits of membership outweigh drawbacks, respondents said, with 71pc saying it has a positive or very positive impact on their businesses.

 

 

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