Still all to play for

40% of Scots SMEs still undecided on EU vote

Andy WilloxTwo in five owners of Scottish small firms have yet to decide how they will vote in the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, a  Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) survey reveals.

The poll, the first business survey conducted since the referendum date was announced, heard from over 4,000 UK small business owners, 520 of whom were in Scotland, and finds that both sides have everything to play for.

Despite the EU being a key issue during the independence referendum, over half of the Scottish businesses questioned (53 per cent) do not feel well informed on the matter.

Asked what would influence their vote, UK and Scottish businesses highlighted broadly similar factors – with the governance of the EU and the free movement of people regarded as top concerns.

However, slightly fewer Scottish businesses suggested that the cost of the EU was a key issue and slightly more firms north of the border highlighted EU funding as something that could sway their vote.

Andy Willox (pictured), the FSB’s Scottish policy convenor said: “This groundbreaking survey reveals the big questions for Scotland’s smaller businesses ahead of June’s EU vote.

“However, with every second business owner feeling uninformed about the key issues, both sides of this debate have their work cut out to close the information gap.

“In a clear echo of the independence referendum campaign, Scottish smaller businesses want to know the practical impact that remaining within or leaving the EU would have on them. FSB will be at the forefront of the efforts to get our members the information they need before they cast their vote.”

When Scottish small businesses were asked what factors would influence their vote…

1.    71% said EU governance (e.g. EU decision making)

2.    70% said free movement of people (e.g. of EU labour, travel, tourism)

3.    62% said economic impact on UK

4.    60% said administrative burden on businesses as a result of complying with regulation

5.    59% said costs of EU membership

6.    52% said access to the single market

7.    50% said trade with EU countries

8.    49% said EU funding

9.    42% said trade with non-EU countries

10. 37% said competition


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