Its survey, published today (September 29), revealed 85% of manufacturers would vote to stay in the EU. A further 8% voted ‘don’t know’, while only 7% of companies would vote to pull out of Britain’s EU membership.
EEF chief executive, Terry Scuoler, said the survey revealed manufacturers’ commitment to their trading future in Europe. “Despite the continued challenges faced by the Eurozone, manufacturers remain overwhelmingly of the view that our economic wellbeing is inextricably linked to the EU and, we must stay in membership,” said Scuoler.
‘Makes no sense to disengage’
“It makes no sense to disengage from our major market. We can achieve reform by being an active member. It remains fanciful to think we can just pull up the drawbridge and walk away with no consequences.”
Companies of all sizes voted in favour of remaining within the EU. But the most positive support for retaining EU membership came from companies with more than 250 employees. In that category, 90% of firms voted to stay in and none favoured quitting the EU.
The latest survey confirms the findings of a previous EEF poll carried out in September 2013.
Last week, the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) confirmed exports of food and non alcoholic drinks to EU countries had risen by 2.5%. Ireland and France remained the UK’s biggest food and drink export markets, measured by value.
‘Uncertainty over an EU referendum’
Advertising agency boss Sir Martin Sorrell warned that a vote on Britain’s continued EU membership would cause even more disruption than Scotland’s recent independence referendum. “The UK economy is in good shape, let’s not ruin it by creating uncertainty over an EU referendum,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Meanwhile, the survey follows the high-profile defection last weekend of Conservative MP Mark Reckless to the UK Independence Party (UKIP).
Announcing his decision to quit the Conservative Party on the eve of its annual conference in Birmingham, Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, said: “David Cameron has had his chance” and had reneged on promises made about immigration, the deficit and political reform.
But London mayor Boris Johnson and prospective Conservative MP said any Conservative MPs who were considering disserting the party for UKIP “must be utterly nuts”.