Three-quarters of UK SMEs are planning to vote for the UK to remain within the EU according to a survey carried out by Aston University’s Centre for Growth.
Within the UK SMEs account for 15.6 million of all private sector occupations which contribute £1.75 trillion in revenue per year. Taking these figures into account it’s obvious to see why small business owners aren’t taking the Brexit decision lightly.
The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Programme UK (a provider of support to small businesses in their growth) was made to discover the opinions and views of businesses that are growing at a rapid pace. The programme which featured just under 1,000 business owners asked a variety of questions which included how their business communicates with the EU and what their outlook is on the topic of leaving the EU.
365 business owners replied to the survey which took place online last year during late August and early September that represented an overall response of 40%. 75% of those who did respond said that they will be voting yes to stay in the EU if, the referendum was to take place ‘now.’ Just 6% said they would vote to leave. The figures increased to 82% within those businesses who are currently working with the international markets.
51% of the companies have sales to international consumers (the majority being to the EU) and just under one-quarter have said that the EU market is important to the progress of their businesses.
It’s claimed that currently, one of the key issues that are stopping businesses from expanding and growing is the lack of skills available in employees, many SMEs (30%) of those who were surveyed have hired staff from the EU in the last year to fulfil the skills shortage they experienced and to fill any managerial positions.
However, 200 employers have signed an open letter organised by 10 Downing Street which leans towards Britain leaving the EU. Small business employers have signed this open letter because they believe signing the “Brexit” will give them the “flexibility and adaptability which are key to our long-term success.” The letter has insisted that Britons should not listen to “a minority of managers from Britain’s largest companies” who are voting for Britain to remain within the EU.
Professor Mark Hart, Professor of Small Business and Entrepreneurship at Aston Business School, and Programme Director and Academic leader, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses UK has commented by saying;
“These high-growth companies may only be a small proportion of all businesses, but they create a huge number of jobs in our economy. As such, their opinion on the European question is crucial.
“While it’s for politicians to put forward the competing cases for staying inside or leaving the EU, the message from some of our leading small business entrepreneurs is clear: Europe is on balance, good for business and they don’t want to jeopardise that.”