We've been asking our members how they feel about the EU Referendum and whether they are in favour of staying in the EU, leaving, or they're yet to decide.
If you have a view you'd like to share, email us, or why not download one of our 'leave', 'stay' or 'undecided' cards and send us a photo with your preferred card? Don't forget to tell us the reasons behind your decision.
A snapshot of how Stockport businesses will be voting at our Stockport Breakfast Club meeting:
"I believe we should leave the EU because I don't consider it a democratic entity. The EU is not a body elected by members of the Union (the actual citizens) and yet they have control over many aspects of our lives - even over-ruling our own democratically elected government.
"I believe that we as a country are more than able to function and thrive without membership of the EU. It will encourage the UK to seek other markets outside the EU - the world is a big place!"
Here's how businesses at our Bolton Action for Business event will be voting:
"The key issue I believe is what will happen to the value of the pound against the euro. We purchase much of our raw material base in euros, in fact in 2016 we will need approximately 24 million euros to cover these purchases. But since we don’t sell much in euros, we must convert some of our £56 million of revenues into euros. When the pound is strong, one pound buys more euros than when it is weak. A weak pound benefits exporters but is bad for importers like ourselves. Remember that we deal almost entirely in our home market.
Will the pound strengthen or weaken against the euro if we leave the EU? An indication is maybe what has happened recently to the exchange rate: in March and early April there was much uncertainty in the money markets about the future strength of sterling should the UK exit the EU, particularly when Boris Johnson announced that he was supporting the out campaign. So sterling weakened against the euro. However, in the second half of April sterling has regained some strength as many organisations, companies and world leaders have come out strongly in favour of the UK staying in the EU. Therefore, the sentiment in the financial markets is that sterling will weaken if we leave the EU.
To illustrate what this could mean, early in the year one pound bought about 1.4 euros. If we had been able to buy the 24 million euros that we need this year, they would have cost us £17.1 million. But today the exchange rate stands at 1.28 euros to the pound. Our €24m would today cost us £18.8 million. If the exchange rate moves down the same amount again, to 1.16, it would cost £20.7 million. In other words, we could lose £3.6 million of our profit this year just through the weakness of sterling. Whilst we can, and do, “buy forward” to secure a certain exchange rate, we can’t do this too far forward; so any long term weakness of the pound will hit us. All wheelset components apart from the wheels themselves, such as brake discs and bearings, and many other components, are not manufactured in the UK – so a weak pound acts against us an importer. This means that costs will rise for many players in the rail industry, not just for ourselves, if we leave the EU and as a result, sterling weakens. But whatever you decide, don’t forget to vote! “
Here's how our Business Women's Network will be voting in the EU Referendum:
"My vote is currently to stay in. Not because I have strong views on the benefits, rather that disentangling ourselves will be a costly, time-consuming distraction. We should be focusing on business development and skills. We don't understand the implications. Having said that, the recent treasury report is irritating at best and a perverse driver to voting 'out'! We need facts and balanced discussion."
A snapshot of how businesses at our Oldham Action for Business event will be voting:
"I have never been a committed European and argued fiercely for the UK not to join a single currency, but my stance is different when it comes to leaving the EU.
The economy is going reasonably well (despite the so-called problems with Brussels) and our growth and employment rates have been very encouraging in a turbulent international market.
Those who want to leave have got to promise something better than our current experience and there is simply no data available to validate their argument for leaving. Much of their argument is based on hypothesis which can only be tested after Brexit and that is a high risk situation.
They opine that trade talks, bilaterals etc. will be renegotiated but they simply don’t know. It is speculation. We just can’t afford to throw away what we have achieved for illusory gains, there is sure to be a backlash. More important, our financial services are paramount and these could be severely impaired.
All in all, there is much wrong with Brussels and there is much that we don’t like, but should we jeopardise our economic future for the sake of the antipathy which exists?
"I vote to stay in the EU because I foresee that without the EU directives on the health, safety and welfare of UK workers, even more employers will not protect their employees from injury and ill health.
"Many employers fail to safeguard their people, simply because they can get away with it. Yet, the directives from the EU that become our regulations have saved thousands of people from harm in the workplace.
"If we do not remain in the EU, then the cost to the UK economy of injury and ill health at work will rise from the already intolerable figure of £14.3 billion. Workers will suffer more mistreatment at the hands of uncaring employers."
"As a lover of Europe and with a brother married to a Dutch woman living in The Netherlands and a sister married to a Danish man of Indian origin living in Switzerland, I consider myself a part of the European Community. I believe that the United Kingdom should have close and friendly ties with European countries, and those across the World. However, I feel that this Country’s prospects and prosperity is being put under threat by a project called The European Union. It is vitally important to distinguish between Europe, and the European Union. The European Community was established in 1967, and for good reason – to promote mutual collaboration across the continent. In 1975 Harold Wilson held a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EC (not the EU), people voted to stay to be a part of the European Economic Community. Little did these people know that by 1993, without any say in the matter, the UK would be absorbed into a Political Union, The European Union, which would end the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.
"The People of Britain believe in trade and believe in friendly ties with all nations across the Globe, however being a part of the EU has made us less able to trade with our own friends in the Commonwealth and other Country’s outside of the EU. As the fifth largest economy in the world and an unrivalled leader in world commerce we have the ability, talent and experience to quickly establish mutually profitable trade agreements throughout the world. Global IT companies do this on a routine basis and often with much more complicated contractual structures than we would need. The EU is a Customs Union designed to force up prices within its boundaries, leaving the EU would allow Britain to pay world prices for goods. Professor Patrick Minford of Cardiff Business School has produced a paper detailing the differences and estimates a move to world prices would reduce the cost of living by 8% per annum, or around a £1,000 per British family. Along with saving our net EU membership fee of £23 million a day, the only choice for a positive growing economy that delivers real spending power to consumers and allows British businesses to flourish is to vote to leave the EU on June 23rd."
Here's how businesses at our Wigan Action for Business event will be voting on 23rd June:
“Heathrow believes that the UK will be better off remaining in a reformed EU. We are the UK’s only hub airport, connecting Britain to over 80 long haul destinations, and handling over a quarter of UK exports – but we recognise that for business to thrive we also need to be part of the single European market.
"Membership of the EU has made air travel affordable and convenient, with regular flights to the continent from all parts of Britain - fuelling jobs, exports and economic growth.
"A vote to remain offers the best of both worlds – it secures our place as a powerhouse in the global economy, while remaining in the world’s largest free trade zone.”
A snapshot of how businesses at our Manchester Action for Business event will be voting:
‘"In my opinion the effect of Brexit has not been thought through. There is insufficient awareness of how our membership of the European Union has beneficially permeated through every aspect of our political, social and legal fabric and very little thought given to the consequences of leaving for that valuable network of togetherness and cooperation.
"For example, in my own specialist area of family law, the EU has adopted a number of measures concerning judicial cooperation in cross-border family cases. These measures include rules on jurisdiction (that is where the case is heard), recognition and enforcement of judgements made on divorce, parental responsibility, the enforcement of maintenance obligations, mutual recognition of domestic violence orders, minimal levels of legal aid and measures to support the return of abducted children to their rightful country.
"More and more couples come from different EU states or move their homes between them; these cross-border arrangements benefit each and every one of them and it is completely unknown what regulations would replace them, or if such new regulations would be as effective.
"But it is not only these ‘international’ couples who would be affected by a British departure from the EU. Every divorce petition is founded on the jurisdictional requirements of the extremely important Brussels II Revised Regulation, as is almost every financial claim on the European Maintenance Regulation.No doubt, eventually, some alternative provisions would be put in place, but how likely is that the legacy of cooperation and mutual understanding demonstrated by the above arrangements could be preserved and mirrored in the new regulations? ‘"Brexit’ would be a damaging and unwanted divorce from the perspective of our European partners, albeit one in which we would have to continue working together because of geography and shared economic interests. In divorce neither side normally gets what it wants and the legacies of grief and mistrust tend to endure to poison the divorced couple’s future relationship. It won’t be all about us. I am just not convinced that the ill-defined theoretical advantages of leaving are worth the demonstrable numerous and very tangible losses.’"
Here's how businesses at our Trafford Action for Business event intend to vote:
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