Post date: Wednesday, 23rd January 2013

In or out? Transport bosses divided on EU membership

Mike Randall, CEO of Close Brothers Asset Finance.

Mike Randall, CEO of Close Brothers Asset Finance.

While David Cameron has promised the UK electorate an in/out referendum on Britain remaining as a member the European Union, if the Conservative Party wins the next general election, a recent survey has highlighted that many SME transport businesses believe that the UK would be better off out the EU.

According to the recent survey, the Close Brothers Business Barometer, many in the UK transport and logistics industry have been displaying a growing skepticism about the benefits of European membership. Indeed the survey, which canvasses the opinion of SME owner managers, identified that as many as 44% of the respondents believe that the UK should leave the EU.

Furthermore, 38% feel that struggling European countries threaten to bring the UK down with them, while 37% simply stated that our economy would be better off if we were to leave the EU.

CEO of Close Brothers Asset Finance Mike Randall said: “The transport and logistics industry seems to be questioning how much the EU really costs the UK. It’s not just how much we currently contribute to the budget that is worrying – it was approximately £12bn in 2012 – but also how much they’re asking us to contribute over the next two years, a total rise of 5%.

“When we joined the EEC some 40 years ago we thought we were joining a large, prosperous market but the reality now is that the benefits are being questioned. As a nation we continue to struggle financially and the mood is that the never-ending Eurozone crisis could threaten to bring the UK down with it.”

The survey also revealed the views of those who don’t think the UK should quit the EU, 80% think that leaving could easily isolate us and that being part of the European community offers significant advantages when it comes to competing in a global marketplace.

“What’s clear is that transport firms across the UK are seeking stability and reassurance that their best efforts to recover won’t be thwarted by a greater force. The government appears to be making plans for a more flexible agreement with Europe that will protect the best interests of British industry and business,” added Randall.

“Hopefully any new settlement will make businesses here feel comfortable and supported in their plans for future growth,” he added.

Note: The Close Brothers Business Barometer is carried out independently on a quarterly basis. Close Brothers Asset Finance offers bespoke funding solutions including hire purchase, leasing and refinance to a wide variety of industry sectors.

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