Four in five Confederation of British Industry (CBI) members say remaining in the European Union is in the best interests of their businesses, according to new figures out today.
The CBI, which has been criticised by eurosceptic groups for its previous pro-EU comments, polled more than 700 small, medium and large firms across the UK, finding 80 per cent believe the UK remaining in the EU would be best for the business. Just five per cent said it was in their firm’s interests for the UK to leave the EU, and 15 per cent said they were unsure.
“The message from our members is resounding – most want the UK to stay in the EU because it is better for their business, jobs and prosperity,” said CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn. “Walking away makes little economic sense and risks throwing away the many benefits we gain from being part of the EU.”
But Fairbairn added that the industry group would not align itself with any campaign in the run-up to the referendum on 23 June, saying: “It is not our place to tell people how to vote, but the CBI will play its role in making the economic case for remaining in the EU.”
The CBI poll was welcomed by the pro-EU Stronger In campaign, but dismissed by the eurosceptic Vote Leave group, with Vote Leave chief executive Matthew Elliott saying: “Dodgy polls from the CBI carry little weight after their long and regrettable history of getting it wrong on the EU.”
Separately, former trade commissioner Peter Mandelson will use a major speech in the City this morning to attack London mayor Boris Johnson, saying. Mandelson, a member of the Stronger In board, will say: “The Leave campaign’s favoured alternative model is Canada’s trade agreement with the EU. This is a major strategic error by the leave campaigns, as it exposes the inferior, weaker alternative future they offer.”