Export-driven British businesses remain keen for the UK to remain a member of the European Union, a new study has shown.
Research from business and financial adviser Grant Thornton has demonstrated that UK businesses of all sizes are largely in favour of remaining in the EU, with those engaged in international trade particularly keen for the country not to give up its membership of the bloc.
The survey of more than 200 senior executives has indicated 65 per cent will be voting to remain in the EU when the referendum takes place on June 23rd, with the proportions varying between 60 per cent for small businesses, 61 per cent for mid-sized companies and 76 per cent for large organisations.
While companies that only trade in the UK were broadly in favour of remaining inside the EU, with 62 per cent saying they would vote to stay, this conviction was more pronounced among those with a broader geographical scope.
It was indicated that 63 per cent of firms that export to other EU markets will be voting to stay, rising to 72 per cent for businesses who trade beyond the union. Among this latter group of exporters, 67 per cent thought leaving the EU would damage their growth prospects.
The survey also indicated that 48 per cent of firms believe a possible Brexit would have a negative impact on growth and jobs in their business, while 47 per cent think it will make it more difficult to export goods and services or operate in the EU.
Robert Hannah, chief operating officer at Grant Thornton UK, said: "We recommend all companies should carry out an impact assessment for Brexit that considers different scenarios and works through how each might affect the operations of the company.
"Whilst there is a lot of uncertainty about what the UK's relationship with the EU would be if the referendum results in a 'Leave' decision, identifying the 'known unknowns' that might affect your business is an important step in being prepared."