Businesses unlikely to change mind on EU

David Cameron's stance on Europe is coming under fire.
David Cameron's stance on Europe is coming under fire.
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The majority of business people in Britain believe the outcome of the Prime Minister’s renegotiation of the UK’s membership of the European Union is unlikely to change how they will vote, according to a new study.

Research by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) showed that David Cameron’s attempt to reach a deal in the coming days has little effect on business opinion.

A survey of over 2,000 BCC members found that only a third will reconsider their voting intentions based on the package of reforms set to be finalised.

Three out of five said they will vote to remain in the EU, slightly down from a similar poll last September, while 30 per cent would back Brexit, an increase of 3 per cent.

John Longworth, director general of the BCC said: “Now our findings suggest that the renegotiation is having little impact on day-to-day business, or the vote of the BCC’s business community, since many made up their minds before knowing the outcome of negotiations, effectively discounting them as irrelevant. Our findings suggest that for businesspeople, this is a question of in or out - not renegotiation. Business remains divided on Europe, and business leaders’ views reflect the size of their firm and their export interests, rather than the current political debate. They are making rational economic choices based on their own interests.

“Our findings are a wake-up call for both the remain and leave camps. Neither side can bank on a change to business opinion in the wake of any renegotiation settlement.”

A separate report found that 21 business federations across Europe are backing the Prime Minister’s drive to make the EU more competitive.