Research by accountancy firm Grant Thornton has found that nearly two-thirds of businesses (64%) in the eurozone believe a British exit from the EU would have a negative impact on Europe. In the UK, 72% of firms think a British exit would have a negative impact on the EU.
It’s the lack of certainty over what Brexit would actually mean for mid-market businesses in the UK and across the eurozone which keeps many CEOs awake at night. Robert Hannah, head of operations at Grant Thornton UK LLP, said: “From our conversations with dynamic mid-sized businesses throughout the UK, we know the uncertainty created by a looming, and now delayed, referendum is a real and worrying concern. With opinion polls suggesting a vote to leave is a distinct possibility, and given London’s status as Europe’s financial centre, it’s easy to understand why European businesses are worried…
“For those making critical business decisions this climate of ambiguity over the short term and long term future is a challenge, but is something that has to be worked around. Rather than trying to find 'certainty', businesses need to develop the courage and agility to seek growth within an uncertain climate.”
Here are seven key pieces of research that gauge public sentiment on Britain’s relationship with the EU and the possible ramifications of Brexit:
1. A recent ORB poll for The Independent shows 55% of people wanting Britain to stay in Europe, with 45% against. Continued membership is most popular among 18- to 24-year-olds, with 71% for and 29% against.
2. A poll by Ipsos Mori found that if a referendum had been in June this year, 61% of people would vote to stay in the EU – the highest figure in 24 years – while 27% would leave the EU.
3. According to an ONS report, the UK is exporting more than ever to non-EU countries: figures show UK exports outside the EU are growing at an annual clip of 6.5%. Meanwhile, exports to the EU are still growing at a healthy 3.4% and accounted for 44.6% of total exports.
4. A study by think-tank Open Europe found the worst case Brexit scenario is that the UK economy loses 2.2% of its total GDP by 2030. However, it says GDP could rise by 1.6% if the UK could negotiate a free trade deal with Europe and pursued "very ambitious deregulation".
5. Research conducted by German firm Bertelsmann Stiftung and IFO Institute has estimated that a Brexit could cost the UK £215bn, or 14% of UK GDP. The German study assesses three scenarios and what their likely effect would be in the year 2030, when it believes the negative effects will have shown their full effect. Aart De Geus, chairman and CEO of Bertelsmann Stiftung said: “A Brexit is a losing game for everyone in Europe from an economic perspective alone – particularly for the UK.”
6. ‘Change or Go’, a report from Business for Britain, the Eurosceptic business leaders forum, finds that if the UK were to leave an unreformed EU, the average British household would save up to £933 a year, with the biggest savings coming from lower food prices.
7. A report by the CBI estimates the economic benefit of the UK being in the single market is worth £3,000 per household each year.