North West firms split over Brexit dilemma

Andy Gregory

Andy Gregory

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The North West business community is increasingly divided in its support for the UK’s membership of the European Union, according to a survey of senior business leaders.

The Business Growth Fund, the UK’s most active provider of long-term growth capital to small and mid-sized businesses, carried out the survey.

It found that half believe that British businesses are better off inside the EU than out of it.

This marks a drop on the 71 per cent who, in June last year, said that the UK’s membership of the EU is good for British businesses – pointing to growing support for Brexit among the business community.

However, 57 per cent of respondents claim that the UK’s membership of the EU gives British businesses invaluable access to European markets while 46 per cent are concerned that an EU exit risks stifling business growth.

Looking ahead at the potential implications of a leave vote, 39 per cent of respondents say that Brexit will prompt multinational companies to relocate operations overseas while 61 per cent believe that it will trigger another Scottish independence referendum.

Reflecting frustration with the EU, more than three quarters (79 per cent) of respondents claim that Britain’s membership of the EU saddles British business with unnecessary and problematic regulation.

Andy Gregory, BGF’s Regional Director for the North, said: “The poll shows that opinion among the North West business community is increasingly divided when it comes to Britain’s membership of the EU.

“It’s also clear that despite uncertainty prompted by the vote, and economic instability overseas, businesses remain committed to growth.”