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EU renegotiation package having little impact on day-to-day business

EU renegotiation package having little impact on day-to-day business

19th February 2016

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of the senior businesspeople polled in a major new British Chambers of Commerce survey have revealed that the outcome of the Prime Minister’s renegotiation is unlikely to change how they will vote - despite large majorities saying they are familiar with the objectives of the renegotiation package. 

 

When it comes to how individual businesspeople will vote in a forthcoming referendum, 60% would vote to remain, down slightly from 63% in September, and 30% would vote to leave – up slightly from 27%.

The BCC’s data on voting intentions shows a business community divided based on size and export interests. Those representing large firms are significantly more likely to vote ‘Remain’ than those in small and micro-businesses. Firms’ international orientation is also a major factor, with opinion varying based on whether and where firms export. 

 

 

Voting intentions: by business size (number of employees)

 

All (n=2064)

Micro 0-9 (n=1066)

Small 10-49 (n=504)

Medium 50-249 (n=282)

Large 250+ (n=185)

Vote to stay

59.5

53.9

59.7

68.6

74.7

Vote to leave

30.1

33.5

31.4

22.8

19.8

Wouldn’t vote

1

1.2

0.9

0.5

1.3

Don’t know

9.4

11.4

8.1

8.2

4.2

 

 

Commenting on the results, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:
 
“When we last surveyed Chamber members in September, we did not know the detail or ambition of the Prime Minister’s renegotiation package. Now our findings suggest that the renegotiation is having little impact on day-to-day business — or the vote of the BCC's business community, since many made up their minds before knowing the outcome of negotiations, effectively discounting them as irrelevant.

“Our findings suggest that for businesspeople, this is a question of in or out — not renegotiation. Business remains divided on Europe, and business leaders’ views reflect the size of their firm and their export interests, rather than the current political debate. They are making rational economic choices based on their own interests.

“Our findings are a wake-up call for both the Remain and Leave camps. Neither side can bank on a change to business opinion in the wake of any renegotiation settlement.”

 

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