November 22, 2013
Most British businesses want more decisions to be made in Westminster, but they also believe that leaving the EU completely would damage the UK's economic prospects.
These are the findings of a survey of more than 3,200 businesses for the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) EU Business Barometer Q3 2013.
The BCC research shows that most businesses support the renegotiation of Britain's relationship with the European Union. 57% of respondents want to stay in the EU while transferring specific powers back to Westminster and say this would positively impact the UK's prospects.
However, the majority of respondents (58%) also say that fully withdrawing from EU membership would harm UK business interests. This is up from 53.6% seen in Q2. Further integration, though, is viewed poorly. And only 7.7% of businesses feel that it would benefit the UK if there was no change to the current relationship.
John Longworth, BCC director general, said: "The majority of UK firms are determined to see a revamped relationship between the UK and the rest of the European Union, with more powers exercised from Westminster rather than Brussels.
"For the quiet majority of companies, the status quo is simply not an option. Nor are the increasingly shrill noises from the hardline pro and anti-lobbies. Ministers must ensure that a firm timetable is in place for renegotiation and for any referendum to follow. Businesses need greater clarity in order to plan ahead to invest and explore international markets both within and outside the EU."