Business Leaders Back Vote Leave Campaign

The Vote Leave Campaign, which supports Britain’s exit from the EU, appears to be gathering strength – revealing the names of 250 supportive business leaders and survey results that suggest SMEs are behind them too.

Big Name Backers

Among the business leaders and entrepreneurs who have come out in support of the campaign are big names such as Michael Geoghegan, Former Chief Executive of HSBC Group Plc; Tim Martin, Chairman of JD Wetherspoons; John Hoerner, Former Chief Executive Officer of Tesco Clothing UK and Central Europe; and Luke Johnson, Chairman of Patisserie Valerie.

“With our growing list of business supporters, Vote Leave will make that case that whilst the EU might be good for big multinationals, for smaller businesses it acts as a job destruction regulatory machine,” said Chief Executive Matthew Elliott. “Brussels hinders smaller businesses, particularly those firms who can’t afford to lobby Brussels to curry favour. Jobs, wages and our economy will thrive when we take back control and Vote Leave.”

A Businesslike Approach

Vote Leave also unveiled its new Business Council, will be chaired by another big name – John Longworth, the former Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce.

“I am delighted to be appointed the Chairman of Vote Leave’s Business Council,” said Mr Longworth. “This is the most important political debate of a generation. Business is divided on the issue and it is vital the full breadth of business opinion is heard. Many firms struggle with relentless interference from the EU and rules that are stacked in the favour of a select number of businesses. If we Vote Leave, liberated from the shackles of EU membership, jobs will be safer, Britain will be able to spend our money on our priorities and we can look forward to faster growth and greater prosperity in the future.”   

Matthew Elliott said:

“We’re delighted that John Longworth has agreed to chair Vote Leave’s Business Council. His strong business track record and his courageous decision to share his true beliefs with voters makes him an extremely powerful voice in the EU debate.”

Vote Leave say that The Business Council, working in conjunction with Business for Britain, will make the case that EU membership is holding back British business – a belief that they feel is supported by the results of a poll they recently commissioned through YouGov.

SMEs: EU Hinders Employment

The YouGov poll of over 1,000 SMEs revealed that employment problems seem to be a key issue. It found that:

  • only 14% believe the EU makes it easier for their business to employ people
  • 31% believe the EU makes it harder for them to employ people.

‘The findings undermine a key claim of the Britain Stronger in Europe (BSE) campaign that EU membership helps employment,’ the Vote Leave statement on the results says.

However, results were closer when the SMEs were asked how much they felt the EU helped businesses like theirs overall:

  • 32% believe that the EU hinders small businesses
  • 25% believe the EU helps small businesses

 Taking Back Control

Vote Leave’s argument for leaving the EU centres on the taking back of control and the redirection of the £350 million a week spent on ‘unelected politicians in Brussels’ to ‘priorities,’ such as the NHS and scientific research.

‘We need a new relationship,’ says their campaign statement. ‘A vote to leave and a better, friendlier relationship with the EU is much safer than giving Brussels more power and money every year.’

Kara Copple
An experienced business and finance writer, sometimes moonlighting as a fiction writer and blogger.