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Earlier this month, a report commissioned by the FSB revealed that their members were split pretty much down the middle on the EU membership question. But a new study of growth companies from ECI revealed that 91% wanted the UK to remain in the EU.

FSB Members: We need more unbiased information

The FSB’s report, ‘A study of FSB members’ views on the UK’s membership of the European Union’ , found that 47.0% of its members would vote Yes to staying in the EU,40.9% would vote No, and 10.7% were undecided. Worryingly, 1 in 3 members didn’t feel well-informed about the EU from a business point of view – and while 50.5%7 of FSB members believe that the UK’s existing membership of the EU is beneficial for the UK economy, only 34.9%8 believe that it is beneficial for their own business.

FSB policy director Mike Cherry said, “Regardless of what a firm’s current position is, there is a shared message that small businesses feel they lack clear, impartial information on which to form their views.”
When asked about what impact they believed leaving the EU would have on their business, 41.3% felt the impact would be negative, 17.2% felt that the impact would be positive, and 33.6% felt that leaving the EU would have no impact on their business at all.

A Different Picture from ECI

In contrast, the report from ECI found that 91% of respondents wanted to remain in the EU, while only 6% wanted to leave the EU, with 53% believing that to do so would actively damage their businesses. Those believing it would damage their business citied fears about the wider impact on the British economy, uncertainty, protracted exit negotiations, and the risk that the supposed benefits of a lighter regulatory environment would not materialise. 53% expect to grow their sales in continental Europe over the next year, up from 49% last year.

Danny Alexander, former chief secretary of the Treasury, said, “This survey shows that fast growing businesses are as liberal as they have ever been on how open Britain needs to be. To thrive in a highly competitive global economy Britain needs to be engaged in Europe, to win new markets all over the globe, and to welcome the skilled workers we need from wherever they come.”

The ECI report stated:Received wisdom has it that where large companies are typically staunchly pro-European Union in their outlook, directors of smaller businesses are much more willing to countenance the idea of an exit from the single market… our research challenges that assumption – at least on behalf of those fast-growing businesses that represent the lion’s share of job creation.”


About The Author

Karl Bilby

We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!

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