Majority of SMEs want the UK to stay in the EU

While the European Union debate is gathering momentum ahead of the 2015 General Election, survey results have revealed that the majority SMEs in the UK want to remain in the EU.

According to the freshly-published results of the quarterly Small and Mid-Cap Sentiment Index released by small business campaigners Quoted Companies Alliance and accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LPP, 90% of companies do not want Britain to leave the EU. Only 4% support the UK leaving this arrangement completely.

Tim Ward, Chief Executive of the Quoted Companies Alliance, said: “Small and mid-cap quoted companies clearly see value in the UK remaining part of the European Union.

“For them, it is not a binary ‘in or out’ question. We have found that small and mid-cap companies would rather the UK sorts out how it can optimise its position within the EU system rather than be sitting on the outside looking in.”

EU position needs to change

Similarly, the majority of SME advisors (85%) do not want the UK to leave the EU compared with only 12% supporting a full departure.

Despite small businesses clearly favouring remaining in the EU, 71% of companies and 57% of advisors want the UK’s position to be renegotiated. While only a small percentage want out completely, 40% believe being a member of the EU has a positive impact, but 39% are still not convinced on the overall value that comes from this.

Scott Knight, Partner at BDO LLP, thinks SMEs want stability and fear the uncertainty that could arise from a major political upheaval.

He said: “Whilst individuals may be more inclined to vote politically, businesses tend to act pragmatically.

“It is worth noting that it is the smaller public companies, which are entrepreneurial in nature, that tend to associate the EU with restrictive regulation and are, therefore, more likely to want out.”

What are your views on the UK’s EU membership? Would you vote in or out in a referendum? Let us know and tweet us @TheInsuranceOct.