EU Referendum: Over two thirds of SMEs don’t see positive consequences of remaining within the EU

Over two thirds of bosses of small construction firms do not believe remaining in the European Union would have any positive impact on their business, according to a new poll by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

The survey, conducted among 214 small and medium-sized (SME) member firms, also showed over 80% would base their vote in the forthcoming EU referendum on their personal beliefs instead of their business interests.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said:

“The outcome of June’s referendum will have significant ramifications for construction SMEs.

“That’s why it’s fascinating that more than 80% of our members have indicated that their vote will be determined by their personal beliefs ahead of anything else.”

The survey found that nearly half (40%) of the builders saw the ability of the UK to make its own laws as the biggest benefit of Brexit while continued economic stability provided by the membership garnered most of the support for remaining inside the EU.

Berry insisted that the on-going debate over Brexit has not done enough to highlight the issues that can affect the SMEs’ operations, with over half (52%) of businesses not feeling well informed regarding their options.

He continued:

“A recent survey by Ipsos MORI revealed that the public want to hear the perspective of SMEs more than any other type of business.

“Unfortunately, our research shows that the people who run small construction firms feel that the ongoing debate over Brexit has done little to enlighten them on the issues that really matter.

“No wonder then, that the vast majority of builders will be opting to vote based on their wider personal beliefs, when the economic and business case of each argument remain so unclear.”

Full results breakdown:

Do you feel well informed on the issues that might affect your business when it comes to the EU referendum?
Yes 47.20%
No 52.80%

What do you think would be the single biggest positive consequence of the UK leaving the EU in terms of the likely impact on your business?Could allow the UK Government to freely legislate in a way that specifically meets the needs of British business 39.25%
Could result in less red tape and bureaucracy for my business 22.43%
I don’t think there would be any positive consequences to leaving the EU for my business 20.09%
Could result in less red tape and bureaucracy for my business 14.02%
Other 4.21%

What do you think would be the single biggest positive consequence of the UK remaining within the EU in terms of the likely impact on your business?

Could stabilise the UK economy and ensure it continues to grow 20.09%
Could ensure that we continue to be able to tap into European labour markets to ensure we have enough skilled construction workers 5.14%
Could allow the UK to benefit from helpful EU initiatives such as the EU Public Procurement Directive, which has encouraged the UK Government to open up public sector procurement to construction SMEs 4.21%
I don’t think there would be any positive consequences of remaining within the EU for my business 68.22%
Other 2.34%

When voting in the EU referendum, will you base your voting decision primarily on the interests of your business or on your broader personal views?
Business interests 16.82%
Personal views 81.78%
I won’t be voting 1.40%