Ahead of the UK's in-out referendum on its membership of the European Union (EU) on 23 June 2016, British Chambers of Commerce and Greater Manchester Chamber surveyed member companies across the UK, to report their diverse views.
Many thanks to everyone who completed the survey – Read more about the results below.
April - Final BCC Survey Results
“In” maintains firm majority, but a late swing to “Out” by business.
The results of the final British Chambers of Commerce survey on the EU referendum show first and foremost a late swing to “Out” by business, although “In” still holds a firm majority. Over 2,000 businesses from across the UK took part in the poll last month, which was the second BCC survey of its kind this year. The first, in February this year, showed that 63% of Greater Manchester businesses would vote to remain and 30% would vote to leave. The April results and those from the previous survey released in February are shown below split by exporting and non-exporting companies.
Between February and April, and across all respondents, the amount who would vote to remain a member of the EU if the referendum were tomorrow has fallen from 59.5% to 54.1%, whilst those who would vote to leave the EU has increased from 30.1% to 37%.
For exporters the shift is less prominent with remain falling by 4.2% and leave increasing by 2.9%.
For non-exporters the shift is more dramatic with remain falling by 10.5% and leave gaining 11.6%.
However you split the responses the shift towards leave is greater than the fall in the “Don’t Knows” and the “Wouldn’t Votes”, suggesting some remain voters are changing their mind.
North West/Greater Manchester Breakdown Below are the results of the two most-recent BCC surveys for the North West and Greater Manchester.
The results from the North West and Greater Manchester mirror the national results with “In” holding a majority, but with a more pronounced balance-shift from “In” to “Out” across the region.
The shift across the North West in the past few months has been significant, with the lead for “In” falling from 28.8% to just 3.4% - over a quarter have changed their mind.
Again, the “Don’t Knows” have fallen by just 0.8%, suggesting a large migration from “In” to “Out”.
Within Greater Manchester “In” maintains a strong lead, falling by 7% to 55.5%, whilst “Out” jumped by 5.2% up to 35%.
This highlights a sizeable difference in EU-sentiment between the North West – traditionally more euro-sceptic than the national average, and the city region of Greater Manchester that appears to be more pro-EU than the national average according to other recent polls.
For both the North West and Greater Manchester, “In” voters are more committed to their position than “Out” voters.
Close to two-thirds of remainers across the NW are completely committed to their position compared to around half of leavers.
Almost 17% of leavers across the NW could change their mind, compared to under 6% of remainers across the region.
British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) undertook a poll in February of this year and found that 60% of the business people who responded would vote to remain in the EU, down slightly from 63% in the last poll from September 2015. 30% would vote to leave, which was up slightly from 27% back in September.
Views varied between categories of business with those exporting only to the EU expressing the strongest support to "remain", while those exporting only outside the EU expressing the strongest support to "leave". Take a look at the infographic below:
British Chambers of Commerce evidence to BIS EU Referendum Select Committee
British Chambers of Commerce recently submitted evidence to the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills' Select Committee inquiry into the EU referendum. You can read their submission here: