Firms prefer UK to stay within EU

Firms prefer UK to stay within EU
EasyJet boss Carolyn McCall

Think tank surveyed 700 UK and German businesses

A poll of British and German companies operating in the UK by Germany’s Bertelsmann Foundation think tank found that almost a third would consider moving jobs out of the country following a vote for Brexit.

Its survey of 700 businesses found 29 per cent of British and German companies said they would either reduce capacities in the UK or relocate altogether in the event of Brexit.

Forty-one per cent of businesses in the IT and technology sector said they would consider decreasing capacity or relocating.

In the manufacturing sector, 26 per cent of respondents said they would consider leaving Britain. Only 13 per cent believed a Brexit could increase national employment levels.

The survey by the Germany- based thinktank shows strong pro-EU sentiments across the entire business community.

Four fifths of companies surveyed in retail, IT, manufacturing, energy, telecommunications and finance said the UK should remain in the EU. Manufacturing, IT and consumer/retail emerged as the most pro-EU sectors.

Meanwhile easyJet boss Carolyn McCall, who used to run the Guardian, said at the weekend Brexit would raise costs of foreign travel, devastate tourism and mean flying would be the preserve of the elite.

For the survey, 404 UK-based and 378 German companies were asked their views.

A very clear pro-membership consensus emerged from businesses despite dissatisfaction with many aspects of EU regulation.

Only 21 per cent of companies surveyed believed Britain should leave the EU.

Many companies complained about burdens that came with EU membership, the most commonly cited burdens being complex regulation (34 per cent) and uncertainty over the future of the euro (22 per cent).

Complex EU regulations vexed 37 per cent of UK companies and 32 per cent of German firms.

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