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Small firms speak out on EU referendum vote

Ana Garcia
LDN - 02 Mar 2016
Ana Garcia

London, 2nd March 2016. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) research found that 42 percent of the small business vote on the UK’s membership of the EU on 23 June could still be swayed.


In the first business survey conducted since the EU referendum date was announced, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has revealed the results of a snap poll from over 4,000 small business owners. FSB research found that 42 percent [1] of the small business vote on the UK’s membership of the EU on 23 June could still be swayed. The research also revealed how informed small business owners feel on the issue and what the main areas of interest are that would influence their vote. The FSB advises both the ‘Remain’ and ‘Leave’ campaigns to focus upon these issues in their campaigns.

As part of the survey, FSB members were also asked how informed they feel about the EU referendum. Just over half (52%) [2] of members surveyed said they do not feel informed about the EU referendum, which suggests a growing number are ready to demand answers from both ‘Remain’ and ‘Leave’ campaigns once they are appointed. When asked what members needed more information on: almost half (48%) said the economic impact on the UK, 38 percent noted they needed more detail on the administrative burden of complying with regulation and 33 percent asked for more detail on the cost of EU membership.

Mike Cherry, Policy Director for the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “This high response from FSB members shows first and foremost the issues that will impact how smaller businesses will vote in the EU referendum. Three out of four (75%) [3] FSB members raised EU governance–i.e. how decisions are made within the EU - as the area that would have the highest influence on how they plan to vote. Other areas that scored highly included the free movement of people (70%), the cost of EU membership (69%), the administrative burden of regulation (68%) and the economic impact on the UK (64%) [3].”

Top areas small businesses say will influence how they will vote in the EU referendum [3]

  1. EU governance (e.g. EU decision making)-75%
  2. Free movement of people (e.g. of EU labour, travel, tourism)–70%
  3. Cost of EU membership -69%
  4. Administrative burden on businesses as a result of complying with regulation-68%
  5. Economic impact on the UK-64%
  6. Trade with EU Countries-53%
  7. Access to the Single Market-49%
  8. Trade with non-EU Countries-48%
  9. EU funding-42%
  10. Competition-35%

Mike Cherry, concluded:

“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.”

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. Note on research footnoted as [1]-This figure combines those who selected “I have made a decision but may still change my mind” and “I have not yet decided on how I will vote”
  2. Note on research footnoted as [2]-This figure combines those who selected “not at all informed” and “not very well informed”
  3. Note on research footnoted as [3]-This figure combines those who selected “some influence” and “great influence” on voting intensions
  4. On behalf of the FSB, Verve surveyed 4,005 FSB members on 20-23 February, immediately following the Prime Minister’s announcement of both a deal with the EU and the date for the referendum
  5. Verve is a leading independent market research agency. For more info - www.addverve.com
  6. FSB report, ‘A study of FSB members’ views on the UK’s membership of the European Union,’ 17 September 2015. Contact the FSB press office for a copy
  7. Political neutrality is at the heart of the FSB constitution and therefore we will not take a position on the referendum question, nor advise our members on how to vote. Our goal must be to ensure the small business voice is heard in the discussion, and that our members have all the information they need to make a decision which is right for them and their business

FSB Media contacts:

Anne Mannion: 020 7592 8121 / 078 2724 9090 anne.mannion@fsb.org.uk
Jack Neill-Hall: 020 7592 8116 / 075 25 801 773 jack.neillhall@fsb.org.uk For regional FSB contacts please go to www.fsb.org.uk/regions


FSB Press release