A vote on whether Britain should remain a part of the EU or not should take place soon to avoid uncertainties for business, the head of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has said.
Speaking ahead of the BCC annual conference, director general John Longworth told the BBC: "Our members say that they actually want a referendum. There is obviously a debate around a referendum at the moment ... that is creating uncertainty, so if we are going to have a referendum we ought to do it quickly.”
Longworth will address an audience of British business leaders in London today, where Conservative and Labour politicians are also set to battle it out to win the backing of the business world ahead of the General Election in May.
With just 87 days to go, Longworth said: “We have to come to a conclusion on these things and move on… Uncertainty is bad for business.”
In his speech later today, Longworth will say BCC members support reform of Britain’s relationship with the EU, but will warn that the next government needs to protect the UK against “the prospect of being in a club where all decisions are being made by, and for the Eurozone.”
“Without true reform, business support for the European project is far from guaranteed. A new settlement for Britain in Europe is essential to achieving our economic ambitions – helping our businesses succeed here at home, and across the world,” Longworth will say.
Due to address business leaders throughout the day are Prime Minister David Cameron, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, business secretary Vince Cable, chancellor George Osborne, shadow chancellor Ed Balls and shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna.