Opinion

Scottish businesses say overwhelmingly want to stay in Europe

3 min read

26 September 2015

A survey has found that the vast majority of Scottish firms want to stay in the EU and are unlikely to change opinions before a referendum.

Scottish businesses have come out strongly in favour of staying in the European Union.

According to a new survey from the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, if an EU referendum vote took place tomorrow 73.5 per cent said they would vote to remain a member with 13.5 per cent stating they would vote to leave.

About 12.5 per cent are still unsure how they will vote while about 0.5 per cent said they would not cast a ballot.

Large companies were the most enthusiastic about remaining in the EU, with 90.5 per cent in favour. That compared with 79.2 per cent for medium-sized and 71.8 per cent for small businesses.

Half of business leaders who said they would vote to remain in the EU said they were “completely committed” to their stance and therefore unlikely to change before a referendum.

Read more about the referendum:

As with a survey of UK businesses released last week, Scottish firms were keen to see what reforms prime minister David Cameron wins for the UK parliament from the EU during its renegotiations.

Scottish firms said Cameron’s main focus should be on gaining greater powers for the UK parliament to block proposed EU legislation allowing the UK to opt out from “ever closer union” between EU member states and gaining greater control over migration.

Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Network, said: “Views are already being formed but with 45 per cent of businesses likely to be influenced by the content of the prime minister’s renegotiation package, it is important that as much information and detail as possible is presented to business and the wider electorate.

“Currently, 27 per cent of respondents said that they were completely unfamiliar with the content being proposed within the renegotiation package, with a further 43 per cent only a little familiar with it. With Scottish businesses exporting over £12.9bn of goods and services throughout the European Union, it is important that any change does not disrupt our ability to continue to trade and grow this market, creating wealth and jobs. The UK government must up its game in terms of communicating with and listening to businesses on this vital issue.”