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Four in ten firms feel uninformed

Scots small firms ‘most supportive’ of staying in EU

Andy WilloxA new study shows that just under 60% of Scottish small firms would prefer to stay in the European Union, the highest proportion of the UK nations.

However, it also shows that well over a third of UK members (37%) do not feel well informed about the business impact of the vote.

The research was based on feedback from 6,263 members of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)  – 571 in Scotland.

Mike Cherry, the FSB’s national policy director, said: “The study attempts to understand current attitudes towards EU membership among our members.

“This research is a vital starting point in outlining the key issues and areas of concern for small businesses in the EU referendum debate.  Regardless of what a firm’s current position is, there is a shared message that small businesses feel they lack clear, impartial information on which to form their views.”

Andy Willox (pictured), the FSB’s Scottish policy convenor, said: “During this debate, the FSB’s role will be to ensure the small business voice is heard.  Our approach will reflect the one we took during the independence referendum: ensuring that our members have the information they need to make the decision which is right for them and their business.

“This research underlines the variety of views in the enterprise community and shows that both sides of the debate have a lot of work to do to convince large numbers of Scottish businesses.”

Main findings: 

To the question: “Imagine that the referendum on whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union was held today. Based upon the information you know today, how would you vote?”

·         47.0% of members surveyed said they would vote ‘Yes’, the UK should remain a member of the EU”

·         40.9% of members surveyed said they would vote ‘No’, the UK should NOT remain a member of the EU”

·         10.7% of members surveyed said they were undecided on how to vote

Who is most likely to vote ‘Yes’

·         Exporters to the EU: 66.3% would vote ‘Yes’

·         Employers of Non-UK EU nationals: 60.7% would vote ‘Yes’

·         FSB members in Scotland: 59.9% would vote ‘Yes’

·         Importers from the EU: 56.0% would vote ‘Yes’

·         FSB members in London: 55.4% would vote ‘Yes’

·         FSB members in Northern Ireland: 54.2% would vote ‘Yes’

·         Female business owners: 51.3% would vote ‘Yes’

·         FSB members in the North East of England: 51.3% would vote ‘Yes’

Who is most likely to vote ‘No’

·         FSB members in the East Midlands: 48.7% would vote ‘No’

·         FSB members in Yorkshire and the Humber: 47.8% would vote ‘No’

·         FSB members in West Midlands: 47.0% would vote ‘No’


Where the vote is currently close or undecided

·         FSB members in England: 45.1% would vote ‘Yes’ and 43.1% would vote ‘No’

·         Male business owners: 45.8% would vote ‘Yes’ and 43.3% would vote ‘No’

·         Female business owners are more likely to be undecided with 14.5% yet to decide how they would vote


Amongst members who would currently vote for the UK to remain a member of the EU, the most popular outcome was the transfer of EU powers back to UK

·         34.7% of the ‘Yes’ vote would like to see powers transferred back to the UK

·         25.8% of the ‘Yes’ vote would like the EU to remain in its current form

·         21.4% say they would like to see other reforms

·         12.9% would like to see further integration with the EU

Amongst FSB members who would vote for the UK to leave the EU, the most popular outcome was improving trade links with rest of the world

·         42.7% of the ‘No ’vote would like the UK to withdraw from the EU and concentrate on strengthening its trade links with the rest of the world

·         29.1% of the ‘No’ vote would like the UK to withdraw from the EU and negotiate individual trade and other agreements with the EU and individual member states

·         22.1% of the ‘No’ vote would like the UK to withdraw from the EU but remain in the European Economic Area

FSB members’ opinion and understanding of the EU

·         78.0% of FSB members surveyed have a view on the UK’s membership of the EU

·         40.8%* of FSB members surveyed feel ‘informed’ about the forthcoming referendum from a business point of view

·         37.0%** of members surveyed do not feel ‘informed’ about the forthcoming referendum from a business point of view

·         19.2% of FSB members surveyed feel ‘very well informed’ about the EU referendum from a business point of view

* This figure combines those who scored 4 or 5 on a 5 point scale where 5 is very well informed and 1 is not at all informed.

** This figure combines those who scored 1 or 2 on a 5 point scale where 5 is very well informed and 1 is not at all informed.


FSB members’ opinions on whether the EU is beneficial to both the economy and their businesses

·         50.5%* see the EU as beneficial for the UK economy

·         34.4%** do not see the EU as beneficial for the UK economy

·         40.6%** do not see the EU as beneficial for their business

·         34.9%* see the EU as beneficial for their business

 

* These figures combine those who said they strongly or slightly agree that the UK’s membership of the EU is beneficial for the UK economy or their business

** These figures combine those who said they strongly or slightly disagree that the UK’s membership of the EU is beneficial for the UK economy or their business


FSB members’ opinions on the potential impact of the UK leaving/staying in the EU

 

On leaving:

·         41.3%* felt that leaving the EU would have a negative impact on their business

·         33.6% felt that leaving the EU would have no impact on their business

·         17.2%** felt that leaving the EU would have a positive impact on their business

On remaining:

·         37.7% felt that remaining in the EU would have no impact on their business

·         35.4% ** felt that remaining in the EU would have a positive impact on their business

·         20.3% * felt that remaining in the EU would have a negative impact on their business

* These figures combine those who said that withdrawing /remaining in the EU would have a very/somewhat negative impact on their business

** These figures combine those who said that withdrawing /remaining in the EU would have a very/somewhat positive impact on their business

 

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