LONDON – England – John Longworth, Chairman of the Vote Leave Business Council, responded to the publication of the Institute of Directors’ and British Chambers of Commerce’s membership surveys on the EU
‘Business opinion is split over the EU, yet this survey shows that businesses are rejecting the remain campaign’s main tactic of talking down Britain and its dynamic economy. Despite the claims of the pro-EU camp to the contrary, business is not fearful of the referendum or the result. This is because they know it is safer to take back control and spend our money on our priorities.
‘If we want British business to prosper in the long-term then the only option is to Vote Leave on 23 June. The survey shows that a majority of those businesses which represent the vast bulk of our economy– those who do business in the UK and those that export outside of the EU- want to leave the European Union.’
BCC members who do not export or export outside the EU support leaving the EU.
By 46.4% to 42.8%, BCC members who do not export would vote to leave the EU.
90% of businesses do not export. In 2014, just 10.8% businesses exported at all, of which a smaller proportion still exported to the EU only.
50.1% to 46.7%, BCC members which export to the rest of the world only would vote to leave the EU.
52.2% to 35.9%, BCC members consider that leaving the EU would have a positive impact (15.9%) or no impact (36.3%) on their overall growth strategy as opposed to a negative impact.
The BCC survey contradicts the Chancellor’s campaign to do down the British economy.
The BCC states that the referendum is having no effect on the real economy or giving rise to uncertainty: ‘The majority of business leaders report that the referendum has had no impact to date on various aspects of their business, from orders and sales (71.3%), recruitment (87.1%), and investment (79.6%), to total costs (80.3%)’. This positive data contradicts what the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has claimed that ‘the threat of leaving the EU is weighing on our economy. Investments and building are being delayed’.
A majority of IoD members think the UK could succeed outside the EU.
A majority of IoD members (50%) agree that the UK could make an economic success of leaving the EU. Just 34% disagreed with this proposition.
47% of IoD members consider that leaving the EU would neither have a very significant impact on their business (29%) or no significant impact at all (18%).
46% to 26%, IoD members agree that leaving the EU would have a positive rather than a negative impact on social and employment legislation.
51% to 38%, IoD members consider that leaving the EU would either have a positive impact (19%) or no impact (32%) on research and innovation rather than a negative impact.
IoD members consider the unreformed EU is on a path of economic decline and is too focused on internal debates.
74% to 13%, IoD members consider that the unreformed EU is on a path of economic decline.
75% to 13%, IoD members consider that the EU is too focused on internal debates and trying to impose top-down solutions.
These surveys’ headline voting intention figures cannot be relied upon as evidence of the views of British companies. Weighted business polling shows companies are hostile to the ‘single market’.
42% of respondents to the IoD survey exported services to the EU and 21% exported goods to the EU.
67.5% of respondents to the BCC survey (1,506 out of 2,231) were exporters.
In 2014, just 10.8% businesses exported at all, of which a smaller proportion still exported to the EU only .
The IoD survey was also not weighted to reflect the characteristics of the UK’s business population, such as the respondents’ turnover and number of employees. In 2015, 99.9% of British companies were SMEs, who were responsible for 60% of employment.
Weighted business polling shows that by 74% to 22%, SMEs believe the UK Government, not the EU, should be in charge of trade negotiations and that by 69% to 25%, SMEs think that the UK can trade and cooperate with the EU without giving away permanent control, rejecting the suggestion that the ‘single market’ is good for jobs and living standards.