HALF of British businesses polled by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) say the quality of the concessions the Prime Minister negotiates with Brussels will have an impact on their voting intentions in the forthcoming EU referendum.
The results show that many are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach on Britain’s future relationship with the EU. Should an in-out referendum be held tomorrow, 63% would vote to remain in the EU, 27% would vote to leave, and 10% are unsure. But 50% said their vote could change depending on Cameron’s renegotiation package.
The survey polled over 2,000 senior business leaders from all sectors, regions and all company sizes during August 2015.
John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Businesspeople want more clarity on the prime minister’s renegotiation plans before they have their say on Britain’s future in the EU. With half keeping their options open before making up their mind on how to vote, business’s top concerns need to be at the top of Downing Street’s negotiation agenda.
“Businesspeople are demanding a real shift in the balance of power between the UK and Brussels in any deal. Clear safeguards for the UK, and greater decision-making here at home, are at the top of their priority list.”
The results broadly chime with a survey conducted by recruitment outfit Marks Sattin earlier this which found that over half (55%) of accountancy and finance professionals believe leaving the EU would be bad for the UK economy.
But some 14% said they believed a ‘third way’ would be most economically beneficial, while most finance professionals (45%) believe uncertainty over EU referendum is damaging confidence in the British economy.