Half of London firms say no to unreformed EU

 
Julian Harris
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OVER half of London businesses say that it is not desirable for the UK to stay in the European Union under its current guise, according a survey published this morning.

The London Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) found that firms want to stay in the EU, but mainly on condition of it transferring certain powers back to the UK.

“London businesses broadly agree with the Prime Minister’s recent assertion that there is a need for EU reform and for EU membership to be meaningful it must work for them,” said LCCI chief exec Colin Stanbridge.

Nearly two thirds of surveyed firms believe that competence for employment legislation should be returned to national governments, it said.

Companies were in favour of the product harmonisation that has helped remove barriers to trade, the survey said, while the LCCI also used the report to argue that EU migration must not be restricted. “All evidence suggests that migration benefits London’s economy,” it said.

Six out of 10 of the 130 surveyed firms said that staying in a reformed EU, with specific powers transferred back, “would have a positive business and economic impact”. Yet 52 per cent said that staying in the EU under the current terms is “not desirable”. The coalition should present alternatives to EU membership, the LCCI added.