The majority of business people in the UK intend to vote in favour of remaining part of the European Union in the all important referendum.
A survey of its member by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) found that 54% want the UK to remain in the EU, with around six weeks before the vote. However, that figure was down from 60% in February. Thirty-seven per cent said they would vote to leave, up from 30%.
However, the BCC said 90% of those surveyed said they were not likely to change their mind before heading to the polls.
“Although a clear majority of the business people we surveyed continue to express a preference to remain in the European Union, the gap between Remain and Leave has narrowed significantly in recent weeks,” said BCC acting director-general Dr Adam Marshall.
He said that larger businesses were more likely to vote in favour of staying in the Union, whereas micro-businesses that are less likely to export were more likely to vote to leave.
Britain Stronger in Europe – the official campaign for the ‘Remain’ camp – said the results of the survey reinforce the idea that businesses support remaining in the EU.
Executive director Will Straw said: “Membership of the EU has made our economy more open and competitive, with British businesses able to access 500 million consumers through the single market.
“Walking away would be a leap in the dark. So it’s unsurprising that today’s poll confirms that British business is adamant that we must stay in the EU.”
Yesterday, justice secretary Michael Gove was labelled “wilfully misleading” by CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn after he claimed the majority of businesses want to leave the EU.
According to a survey conducted by the business lobby group earlier in the year, 80% of business people want to stay in the EU, with just 5% wanting to leave.