Small firms reveal EU referendum factors

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The UK's small business leaders need more informaton on the impending EU referendum

New research published by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has highlighted the most important factors that the nation's smaller companies will take into consideration when deciding where their allegiance will lie during the impending EU referendum for the UK.

The date for the landmark referendum, which is being seen as a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the nation to have its say on the UK's position within Europe, has now been set as June 23rd.

On this day, the whole of the UK will have the chance to vote to either stay within the EU or to opt out, with both decisions have lasting implications for the country, for businesses and for the whole of the European bloc.

According to the FSB's poll of more than 4,000 small business owners, the main factors that will cause them to vote one way or the other have been revealed. The results were:

  • EU influence on business decision-making (75 per cent)
  • Free movement of people within the EU (70 per cent)
  • Cost of EU membership (69 per cent)
  • Administrative burden on businesses as a result of complying with regulation (68 per cent)
  • Economic impact on the UK (64 per cent)
  • Trade with EU countries (53 per cent)
  • Access to the single market (49 per cent)
  • Trade with non-EU countries (48 per cent)
  • EU funding (42 per cent)
  • Competition (35 per cent)

The results revealed that the majority of small business leaders are yet to fully decide upon the best course of action, with just over half (52 per cent) of respondents stating they do not yet feel informed enough to make a sound decision on whether it is best to be in or out.

Mike Cherry, policy director for the FSB, said: "Today's wide ranging research sends a very clear message on what information small businesses want from both official campaigns once they are appointed by the Electoral Commission. Now the date is confirmed, it is clearly 'game on' for both sides on this debate.

"It is crucial that once appointed, both the 'Remain' and 'Leave' campaign groups tackle this information deficit. Smaller businesses want to know the practical impact that remaining within or leaving the EU would have on their firms. FSB will be at the forefront of this effort on behalf of our members, to get the information they need before they cast their vote."

Set to come to a head in the next few months, what is clear is that both campaigns will be doing all they can to influence as many businesses as possible and gain as much support as they can before this crucial and potentially game-changing vote for the whole of the UK.