This week, Britain will decide whether we should stay in, or leave the European Union. In the final run-up to the vote, national polls have forecast a different outcome almost every week, making it difficult to predict what will happen on June 23. A recent survey conducted by Staffordshire and Cheshire-based recruitment agency Brampton Recruitment suggests almost 40 per cent of business owners across the two counties think existing jobs will be at risk if Britain was to leave the EU.
Brampton Recruitment’s survey gathered responses from a range of sectors across the two counties. Almost 20 per cent of responses came from engineering companies, followed closely by the services sector at 15 per cent.
When asked how being a part of the European Union benefits their company, business owners suggested that it gives them access to a wider pool of talent, without the complicated and expensive visa application processes. This is also reflected in the amount of businesses that recruit from outside the UK. Over half of those surveyed stated that they currently employ at least one EU national.
Respondents also said that being a part of the EU allows them to trade freely with other European countries. Results suggest that being a part of the European Union establishes Britain as an international trading block, easing the movement of goods across Europe.
However, some companies weren’t as quick to praise Britain’s EU membership, with some stating that EU laws and regulations have a negative impact on smaller businesses.
When asked what would be the main factor that influenced their decision on June 23, some of those surveyed said they would prefer to bring laws, regulations and taxation back under the country’s control and would like to abolish decision-making from unelected EU officials. Others also said that they would vote based on population numbers and the impact on public services.
Results reflected the view that being a part of the EU restricts worldwide trading and that the EU’s trade protection rules were unreasonable. Some companies surveyed suggested that, if Brexit was to happen, they would abolish EU laws that have been enshrined in British business for so many years.
“Many employment laws relating to maternity leave, annual leave and pension funds are in place because we are part of the EU,” explained Charlotte Walker, branch manager of Brampton Recruitment. “These exist to protect workers, but it is understandable that some business owners find them frustrating. In fact, some businesses we surveyed even suggested that the European Union’s employment legislation makes them cautious about further recruitment.
“Prime Minister David Cameron has made new agreements with the European Union that will come into action if we stay; trade and employment agreements are not guaranteed if we leave. Brampton Recruitment is urging businesses across Staffordshire and Cheshire to prepare for these changes, which could have an effect soon.”
Despite many participants having strong opinions on Britain’s EU membership, only 18 per cent of those surveyed think Brexit would result in the best outcome for their business.