Exactly half of senior businesspeople said their EU vote is by no means decided as they instead choose to wait and see what concessions the Prime Minister can secure before the upcoming EU referendum, according to a survey conducted by the British Chamber of Commerce.
The survey presents a picture of uncertainty and therefore unpredictability as businesses seek more information and clarity from Downing Street on the European Union.
If an in-out referendum were to be held tomorrow, 63 per cent of businesspeople would vote to remain in the European Union, just over a quarter (27 per cent) would vote to leave, and one out of ten is still unsure.
But the crucial response has been the 50 per cent who revealed their vote could change depending on what sort of deal David Cameron manages to strike.
‘Keeping options open’
“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,” said John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce.
He went on to say how many businesses are demanding to see a significant shift in the balance of power between the UK and Brussels, and that any deal that may be struck should reflect this.
“Clear safeguards for the UK, and greater decision-making here at home, are at the top of their priority list,” he added.
Following the news
As the referendum draws closer, more businesses are keeping track of EU-related news, with 51 per cent saying they read about it at least on a weekly basis, whilst another quarter (26 per cent) at least once every two weeks.
No impacts just yet
Over 80 per cent of businesses leaders have said their firms haven’t been materially impacted by the planned referendum so far.
Interestingly, the same percentage of people (40 per cent) felt leaving the EU would have a negative impact on their overall growth strategy as those who said it would have no impact. Only 14 per cent believed it would have a positive impact.
“Many assume that the EU referendum is a simple in-out debate where both camps are firmly entrenched in their positions, but this survey shows that businesspeople want more information and greater clarity, and for now at least their vote is still up for grabs,” concluded John Longworth