68% Want To Stay in EU – Chambers Poll

Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce

A new poll of Scottish Chambers of Commerce members shows 68% of them would vote for the UK to remain a member of the EU “if the poll were held tomorrow.”

That’s down from 74% in a previous survey conducted in September 2015.

Support for leaving the EU has risen from 13.5% to 20%.

“Growing Scotland’s exporting opportunities is a priority for business, irrespective of the outcome of the EU referendum,” said Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

“Scotland’s exports to the EU fell by 7.8% to £11.6 billion, according to the most recent export figures but this still accounts for 42% of the international market for our goods and services.

“Scottish businesses will be keen to hear from both sides of the EU referendum debate as to how their competing visions would deliver more exporting opportunities and enable increased growth and competitiveness.”

The survey also showed that 25% of respondents have a preference for delaying the EU referendum until September 2016, with 26% preferring the vote to held in 2017.

About 20% of respondents would be content for the poll to be held in June 2016, a date which some Scottish political parties have argued follows too quickly after campaigning for the May 2016 Scottish Parliamentary elections.

Asked to rate the importance of the EU referendum to their business, 40.1% of businesses indicated that it was “very important,” while 20.2% said it was “important.”

Almost 11% said it was not important and 6.9% regarded it as “not at all important.”

“There is no doubt that the EU referendum debate is being taken very seriously by the Scottish business community and we will continue to watch for shifts in sentiment,” said Cameron.

“We hope that businesses will continue to study the issues and weigh very carefully the implications of staying in or getting out on job security and future trading opportunities.”

Of the 456 Scottish Chambers of Commerce members taking part in the survey, 39% export goods and services to the EU and 37% export to countries outside the EU, while 55% do not export.