High-growth companies are overwhelmingly in favour of Britain remaining in the European Union, according to a poll out yesterday.
ECI Partners, a private equity firm, polled more than 300 fast-growing British firms over the summer, finding that nine out of 10 want the UK to remain in the EU.
Just over half said that a so-called Brexit would have a negative impact on their business.
ECI said that the industrial sector is the most eurosceptic group of companies, with 23 per cent of respondents saying they would support leaving the EU, compared with just five per cent of firms in financial services and one per cent of technology and telecoms companies.
Danny Alexander, former chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “ECI’s research gives us clues as to why fast growing businesses, the real drivers of our economic recovery, are so overwhelmingly pro-Europe. Exporting businesses see Europe as a key market. Firms facing skills shortages can recruit across the EU.
“Many foresee the negative consequences of Brexit for their businesses. To thrive in a competitive global economy, I believe that Britain needs to be fully engaged in Europe.”
The survey also reveals that growth companies are still plagued by skills shortages, which present a long-term challenge for businesses.
Meanwhile, a YouGov poll this week shows that the wider electorate is leaning towards leaving, with 40 per cent of voters backing Brexit and 38 per cent saying they want Britain to remain in the EU. Sixteen per cent said they did not know how they would vote, and six per cent said they would not bother heading to the polls at all.
The latest figures were welcomed by eurosceptic groups, as the last time the “leave” campaign came out on top in a YouGov poll was nearly one year ago, in November 2014.