British business lobby says members back staying in EU

15th March 2016, Comments 0 comments

Britain's biggest business lobby said Tuesday that most of its members want the country to stay in the European Union, ahead of a key referendum to be held in three months.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said a survey of its members showed 80 percent believed remaining in the EU would be "in the best interests of their business and the wider UK economy".

Just five percent said that "Brexit" -- or Britain exiting the EU -- would be in their best interests, while 15 percent were uncertain.

The CBI survey, carried out by independent pollsters ComRes, quizzed 773 small, medium and large companies across Britain.

Britons will vote on June 23 in a critical referendum to decide whether or not their country should remain in the 28-nation bloc.

Prime Minister David Cameron is leading the battle to keep Britain in, but several key members of his Conservative party -- notably Mayor of London Boris Johnson -- have joined the Leave campaign.

However, the CBI, which represents companies employing almost seven million people in Britain, stressed on Tuesday that it would not back any EU referendum campaign group.

The ComRes survey formed part of the CBI's consultation process, which prompted its highest policy-making committee to recommend making the economic case for staying in the EU.

"The message from our members is resounding -- most want the UK to stay in the EU because it is better for their business, jobs and prosperity," said CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn.

"Walking away makes little economic sense and risks throwing away the many benefits we gain from being part of the EU.

"Our members tell us that having guaranteed access to a tariff-free market of 500 million people, and to more than 30 global trade deals covering 50 countries, are significant advantages that outweigh the frustrations.

"A minority of members want to leave the EU. We will continue to respect and reflect their views and campaign for EU reform to get a better deal for all businesses.

"However, most CBI members are unconvinced that alternatives to full membership would offer the same opportunities."

© 2016 AFP

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