Firms insist on reforms to UK’s deal with the EU

Julian Harris
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BRITAIN’S businesses want David Cameron to demand a slashing of red tape from Brussels as part of the UK’s proposed renegotiation of terms with the EU, according to a survey published this morning.

Over half – 52 per cent – of companies surveyed by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and YouGov believe that leaving the Union would have a positive effect on the regulatory burden they face.

Despite this, nearly eight out of ten firms want the UK to remain part of the EU – yet are keen for significant reforms to be made.

When listing their priorities, around four in ten surveyed companies say the EU must ensure that all member states implement Brussels’ rules evenly to

create a level playing field in the single market.

And the same proportion want Britain to work with the EU to reduce the amount of regulation that businesses have to comply with.

However, the survey shows that an even greater proportion of firms (46 per cent) are worried about the government’s practice of making EU regulations even tougher in the UK – a practice known as gold-plating – saying that a priority should be to ensure British firms do not face harsher requirements than European peers.

“The UK should take the lead on the push for reform and make sure rules are evenly applied across the EU,” said CBI boss John Cridland. “Businesses are also concerned about the UK gold-plating legislation from Brussels.”

Among the benefits of staying in the EU, nearly half (47 per cent) say their access to skilled labour would be negatively affected by a so-called Brexit.