EU referendum: Two out of five small and medium-sized businesses back Brexit, says Zurich

Jessica Morris
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David Cameron Launches The Conservative Party's European Election Campaign
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Two out of five British small and medium-sized (SME) businesses would vote for a Brexit in the upcoming EU referendum, new research has shown.

This came despite only one fifth (19 per cent) saying a vote to leave the EU would positively affect the UK economy over the next five years, according Zurich's latest SME risk index.

They also said a Brexit could amplify Britain's skills shortage, with more than a third (35 per cent) warning the UK wouldn't have enough skilled workers in five years’ time.

"Whether most concerned about economic growth or the amplification of a skills shortage, the noise surrounding the EU Referendum is clearly creating a lot of uncertainty about the risks to small and medium businesses," Anne Griffiths, head of SME propositions at Zurich, said.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said an in/out referendum on Britain's membership to the 28 member bloc will be held on 23 June.

The survey also revealed regional disparities among Britain's SME's regarding the upcoming in/out referendum.

Over three fifths (61 per cent) of SME decision makers in London and Scotland said they will vote to stay in the EU. Those surveyed in the North West of England were also positive on remaining in the EU, with 58 per cent backing the In campaign.

But more than half of decision makers in the East of England (58 per cent) indicated they would vote to leave, and half of businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber (49 per cent) stated they would do the same.

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