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22 February 2016

The Telegraph: Stay in the EU, say British businesses

Two polls – from the Institute of Directors (IoD) and manufacturers’ trade body EEF – each found that six out of 10 of their members support Britain remaining in the European Union.

Members of the IoD said the agreement hammered out over the weekend by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, was a “reasonable deal” for their businesses, focusing on cutting red tape and unnecessary legislation, a move away from “ever closer union”, and protection for the City.

EEF members highlighted similar concerns, with 75% saying that Brussels bureaucracy is the biggest issue they have with our EU membership.

While levels of support for staying in Europe are similar in both organisations, far more IoD members believe Britain should quit the EU. Some 31% of them support Brexit, compared with just 5% of EEF members, who warned of the dangers of “cutting ourselves off from our biggest export market”.

Terry Scuoler, EEF chief executive, said: “These findings show that the majority of our members – of all sizes – are pragmatically pro-EU. This is not to suggest the EU is perfect – our members are fully aware and frank about the EU’s shortcomings. There are no rose-tinted spectacles here – our members are fully aware of the pros and cons of EU membership and, on balance, have decided that the UK’s interests are best served by remaining.” [...]

The research revealed industry’s views on the EU were largely unaffected by the measures the Prime Minister won from the EU. More than half of IoD members said the deal he struck did nothing to change their opinions.

Of those whose views were unchanged, almost four times as many said they would vote to stay in regardless of the deal as those who said they were resolute in wanting the EU to leave despite any concessions.

Research by EEF, which represents about 5,000 UK businesses, revealed a similar trend, with 79% of those who are pro-EU saying the agreement from Brussels over the weekend had “little or no bearing” on their support for UK membership. [...]

Full article on The Telegraph

© The Telegraph

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