British businesses not perturbed by threat of Brexit

British business owners remain unfazed by the threat of a British exit from the European Union, according to a survey this week from the Telegraph Festival of Business [1].

According to the study, some 70% of bosses questioned argued that the UK’s membership of the EU has no effect on their business planning [1].

Just 8% of the 1,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have said the debate surrounding the option of a Brexit could have a ‘major’ effect on strategic planning, with 18% saying the effect would be ‘minor’ [1].

The Festival is an annual event which sees fast-growing SMEs congregate for debate, information, advisory and discussion.

The study found more than half of the bosses of SMEs said they were in the dark over the membership criteria for Britain remaining in the EU. Just 48% have said they had “all the facts to make an informed decision on Britain’s place in Europe” [1].

According to a report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, sterling would depreciate sharply if Britain left the EU, while analysis from Morgan Stanley predicted that Britain will “flirt with recession” in the event of an exit [1].

Britain leaving the EU is very much a minority view in the boardroom, especially at big companies. A poll from April/May of 1,259 members of the Institute of Directors business group found that two-thirds agreed that the positives of membership outweighed the negatives [2].

Those willing to contemplate an exit, by contrast, tend to work at smaller, less internationally-oriented firms. They argue their views are more representative of public opinion, and of the bulk of the British economy [2].

There will be much further debate in the months leading up to the referendum.


[1] The Telegraph. ‘Britain’s small businesses unfazed by threat of Brexit’.

[2] Bloomberg. ‘Brexit in the City: Meet the Driven Money Men Backing ‘Out’ Vote’.