EU Referendum and small business

UK SMEs Divided on EU Referendum

Polls by Sage Europe and research consultancy TNS have shown that small businesses in the UK are still divided on whether a Brexit is the right move.


TNS Survey Shows Evenly Split Decision

The TNS survey results were very close:t 37% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were in favour of a Brexit, while 38% favoured remaining in the EU.

One in four SMEs admitted they hadn’t decided how to vote, with many saying they still didn’t feel well informed about how a Brexit might affect their business. In view of this, it’s not surprising that the reasons given for favouring staying within the EU were often more personal than business-based, including cheap holidays – while reasons for leaving tended to centre on independence and greater immigration control. Half of the businesses surveyed couldn’t give clear business reasons for their decision.

However, 68% of the 500+ businesses surveyed are expecting the referendum result to be a win for those who want to remain, due to “the public’s desire for economic stability and fear of change.”

Amy Cashman, TNS’s UK Managing Director of Financial Services and Technology, said: “While some SME owners are backing Brexit, the high proportion of those predicting that the UK will remain in the EU shows that fear of the unknown is likely to be a deciding factor. The reasons given by SME owners for voting, on both sides of the debate, show that the Brexit debate is influenced by passions and personal preferences.”

Sage Europe Survey: It’s all About the Facts

The Sage Europe survey showed a wider discrepancy between the leave and stay supporters, with 38% of respondents preferring to stay in the EU and 31% believing a Brexit is the right decision.

The Sage survey also revealed a high number of undecided voters, with almost 30% still unsure of how they would vote on the day. However, 56% said that the facts that will have the biggest impact on their decision, with only 17% saying they will let gut instinct make the decision for them.

Brendan Flattery, President of Sage Europe, said: “When it comes to the final referendum result, everything is still to play for. Campaigners need to work harder to understand the real issues that small and medium businesses care about and to present the facts, because that is what will make the difference when it’s time for business owners to decide.”

Stephanie Whalley
Serial snacker, compulsive cocktail sipper and full time wordsmith with a penchant for alliteration, all things marketing and pineapple on pizza.