In recent weeks we have been bombarded with arguments from both sides of the Brexit debate regarding the benefits for UK businesses if we leave the EU or decide to stay.
With the referendum looming on 23rd June, there have been many polls asking UK voters how they will vote when faced with their ballot paper in the booth on the big day. But what do UK business owners think?
Loc8 Commercial invited 500 UK business owners to answer five simple questions on the Brexit argument. The results show that among this group, there is deadlock, with 46% in favour of a British exit from the EU and 46% wanting to stay and just 8% undecided either way.
Will the UK be Better Off Out of the EU?
When asked “would the UK economy be better off if the country left the EU?” businesses responded by saying yes with just over 50% compared to the 43% that said no.
Our survey had some mixed results which could support the theory that many people are simply not sure what impact Brexit will have on the wider economy. For example, 38% of businesses thought a recession would be more likely despite more than 50% agreeing Brexit would be good for the UK economy.
The impact of Brexit on Jobs and Wages
Brexit campaigners have said that there could be some short term growth issues but the long term forecast would be generally positive. Ian Duncan Smith said he believes the downward impact on wage growth is down to European migration, something that has been mentioned throughout the debate. But what is not clear is the impact of wage inflation on UK jobs if the country votes to leave, especially as productivity is not rising at the same rate as other European countries according to the Office of National Statistics.
Our survey found that just under 40% of UK businesses think there would be job losses if the UK voted to leave, with 31% feeling confident there would not be any immediate job losses. Of all our survey questions, this was one of the highest with businesses not sure which way they would vote.
The immediate impact of Brexit on the UK Economy
This week the head of the World Trade Organisation, Roberto Azevêdo, has said in an interview with the Financial Times that the UK would find negotiations for trade deals slow and time consuming following an exit from the EU. As a result there would be an impact on the UK economy which could lead to a recession in the short term. Our survey supports the views of Mr Azevêdo with 38% believing a recession was likely. However, there is an equal number between those who are unsure and those that believe a recession is unlikely.
What are the Big issues worrying Businesses about EU Membership?
Both sides of the debate have argued that there is either too much or very little EU red tape. These confusing arguments haven’t helped the debate. Last month The Treasury cited the LSE Centre for Economic Performance report which stated, “it is unclear whether there are substantial regulatory benefits from Brexit”. Businesses that took part in our survey however, think red tape is the biggest issue affecting their ability to do business easily. In addition, the regularity of new EU regulations is the second biggest issue with 35% citing this as a concern, well ahead of immigration, which had a zero score from the businesses that took part.
The Big Day
With the big day looming in under four weeks, many businesses are still unclear how to vote partly due to the confusion and the largely negative campaigning from both sides of the debate. If you are still unsure, we have put together several useful links below to help give you an impartial view about the facts.
Here are some useful links that help to explain the referendum issues.
Open Europe – A full report on the affects of Brexit and the types of membership of the EU.
BBC News – A summary of the issues from the BBC news team.
Carter Jonas – A report on the impact of Brexit on UK property.
The Week – A general overview of the facts around the referendum.