UK firms oppose increased EU integration but want to stay in

Ben Southwood
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BRITISH businesses oppose increased UK integration in the EU, according to the results of a poll released today by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

In a poll of some 2,000 businesses, 85 per cent came out against further EU involvement, but only 12 per cent wish to leave the EU altogether.

Nearly half wanted a re-negotiated and looser relationship with the union, and just nine per cent thought a more extensive role in the supranational body was a good idea for the UK.

“Nearly four decades after Britain joined the European Community, it is astonishing that British firms seem to feel that the balance of advantage of EU membership is lessening,” said BCC director general John Longworth.

“Businesses are pragmatic: they want to be part of a European single market, but only if it delivers real and open access for British goods and services,” he added.

Businesses mostly think a referendum is a medium-term issue, and ought to be resolved in the next five years. Forty per cent of respondents thought a decision should be taken in the next year.