The overwhelming majority of British tech companies believe the country should remain part of the European Union, but that reforms need to made to UK membership, new research reveals.
Just nine per cent of the UK's technology businesses want the UK to leave the EU, while 17 per cent believe it should remain with no changes. The majority – 71 per cent – said the UK should stay in the union with reforms, a survey of members of TechUK has found.
A reformed EU membership was the most popular choice across businesses, from micro to large.
"British tech companies – large and small – need easy access to the large European market to succeed and compete on a global scale," said British entrepreneur and founder of lastminute.com Brent Hoberman. "That's why UK membership of the EU is so important but also why David Cameron is right to want to reform Europe, making it a better digital market."
A total exit from the union would cause major uncertainty, according to 54 per cent of tech business owners and almost four in five think the UK would lose its influence outside of Europe if it were to leave.
“Tech companies are not starry eyed about the EU, they see all of its imperfections. But with customers and suppliers across Europe, these companies are saying the benefits of membership outweigh the costs. They want the UK to help drive the reforms that Europe needs to become more open, innovative and competitive,” said TechUK chief Julian David.
“The UK tech sector is a powerful driver of economic growth. This success has been enhanced by the access UK tech firms have to EU markets. The issues keeping our members up at night – economic uncertainty and access to a skilled workforce – would not be improved by a decision to leave the EU,” he added.
Two-thirds of UK tech companies have customers in the EU and half use suppliers based in other member states.
The top priorities of tech companies for reforming the EU are creating a more open and competitive digital single market and improving processes for assessing new regulations as well as reducing the regulatory burden on businesses.