16 May 2016 16:15
Businesses 'unlikely to change their minds' on EU
Nearly 90% of business people polled in a new survey say they are unlikely to change how they will vote before the 23 June referendum on the EU.
The poll is the final pre-referendum survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), and it shows that, with less than 50 days to go, 54% of its members say they will vote for the UK to Remain in the European Union.
Voting intentions have tightened according the BCC, with Leave now polling seven points higher (37%) than in its February survey. That survey had Remain on 60%, Leave on 30%, and 10% saying they didn't know.
The vast majority - nearly 90% - reported that they are now unlikely to change their vote.
Those trading with other EU markets express the strongest support for Remain, and business people representing large firms are significantly more likely to vote Remain than those in microbusinesses.
Dr Adam Marshall, BCC Acting Director General, said:
"As the EU referendum campaign enters the final straight, the race for the business vote has clearly tightened. The gap between Remain and Leave has narrowed significantly in recent weeks. While only a minority of business people report that the referendum campaign has had a material impact on their firms to date, much larger numbers say they expect significant impacts in the aftermath of the vote."
He added: "Whichever outcome prevails, Westminster must shift its attention back to the economy on 24 June without delay. Growth is softening, and Westminster's referendum 'tunnel vision' over the past year has meant that far too many key economic issues have been given short shrift or delayed altogether."
Also this week, the Institute of Directors (IoD) has released the findings of its own poll of members that also shows that most business leaders are in the Remain camp.
Simon Walker, IoD Director General, said:
"Our survey shows business leaders more than two to one in favour of Remain with the gap widening as the vote nears. IoD members have extensive business links across the European Union … they value access to the single market and the skills of workers from across the bloc. Increasingly, these economic arguments seem to be pointing company directors towards remaining an EU member."