Most UK businesses want Britain to remain in the European Union, but with greater powers awarded to Westminster, a survey revealed yesterday, as Prime Minister David Cameron won crucial support to increase his say in Brussels.
A British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) survey of 3,200 firms found 60 per cent believe staying in the EU, but with more power for British government, would increase the UK’s business and economic prospects. Meanwhile 59 per cent said leaving the EU would harm the UK’s prospects and 46 per cent said further integration, without a renegotiated relationship, would also be detrimental.
The report coincided with the appointment of Cameron’s ally, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, to the role of European Council president. Tusk has already promised to discuss Cameron’s proposed welfare reforms and said “no one reasonable can envisage … an EU without Britain”.
BCC director general John Longworth said: “These results show that firms believe a renegotiated relationship with the EU, rather than further integration or outright withdrawal, is most likely to deliver economic benefit for the UK.
“The prospects for UK business and trade would be improved substantially if meaningful EU reform were to take place. Too many services companies, which together form the backbone of the UK export base, remain frustrated by the slow progress of the single market.”