Staying in a reformed European Union is the most popular option for local Hull businesses.
This was the result of a major survey of opinion amongst hundreds of local businesses in Hull undertaken by Hull’s MPs over the first three months of 2016.
Over 200 responses were received representing small and large businesses from a wide range of different industries - collectively employing over 20,000 people.
The key findings were:
• 45% supported staying in the EU.
• 35% supported leaving the EU.
• 20% were undecided.
Other findings included:
• Of those Hull businesses who trade overseas 93% traded with the EU and damage to trade was the biggest concern identified if the UK left the EU.
• In addition, a significant number of businesses had received direct support from the EU through development funds and a number of respondents highlighted the need to be able to recruit staff from within the EU.
• The major concern with the EU appear to be with the imposed regulatory burden. While only 35% of businesses said it affected their businesses, a reduction in regulation was cited by nearly 70% of respondents as the key reform they would like to see from the EU. This reflects an overall impression that further reform of the EU would be preferential to leaving.
• Given the choice between leaving the EU and reforming the relationship nearly 80% backed reforms that would transfer some powers back to the UK.
Head of the Labour In Campaign and Hull West and Hessle MP Rt Hon Alan Johnson said: “The results of our business survey in Hull show that the majority of local businesses recognise the value of membership of the EU for jobs and trade. I am convinced that one of the reasons Siemens decided to invest in Hull was because as members of the EU we have open access to the World’s largest free trade area, which is crucial to jobs and prosperity in Britain.”
Hull North MP Diana Johnson said: “Although expressing frustrations with the EU and wanting reform, it seems that Hull businesses are facing the economic reality about the long term damage to trade, jobs and living standards that UK withdrawal from the EU would mean - especially for cities like Hull.”
Hull East MP Karl Turner said: “It is clear that the Port of Hull is an important gateway to markets in the EU. The results of our survey show that local businesses rely on free trade within the EU for building their business and maintaining and growing local jobs.”