Businesses want the UK to stay part of the European Union (EU), a poll reveals.
A survey by the CBI claims that companies from start-ups to large companies believe being in the EU is good for business growth and beneficial when it comes to trade and labour movement.
From the businesses which took part in the poll, carried out in association with YouGov, 78% say they want to stay in the EU. Just 10% think it would be in their best interests for the UK to relinquish its membership.
The business lobbying organisation released the report to coincide with the start of its annual conference today.
Its research estimates up to 5% of the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP) is generated due to the nation’s membership in the EU.
John Cridland, Director-General of the CBI, says: “The UK could survive outside the EU, but none of the alternatives offer a better deal. We can’t end up on the fringes of the world’s largest trading bloc, following and paying for all the rules, but setting none.
“The UK must stay in to reform the EU – it is in the UK’s national interest and will create jobs and opportunities at home and in Europe.”
He adds that half of all UK exports go to other countries in the EU.
If the Conservatives win the general election in 2015, the party has promised to hold a referendum on EU membership in 2017, which could see the UK leave the union.
The CBI’s report, called Our Global Future, argues that the UK should be trading all over the world, particularly the emerging markets.
But of course there are also disadvantages of being in the EU, including having to abide by rules and regulations which may not be in the interest of UK businesses. The UK also has to make a substantial financial contribution to the EU budget.