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Committee seeks Business views on EU Referendum

4 March 2016

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The Business, Innovation and Skills Committee launches an inquiry aiming to test business reasons cited by businesses on both sides of the EU referendum debate. The Committee wishes to help inform the debate in the run up to the referendum on 23 June by exploring the rationale for the views expressed by British businesses on the question of Britain's continued membership of the European Union.

Businesses cite a variety of opinions relating to the upcoming EU referendum, highlighting issues such as access to the single market and the cost of EU membership.  Businesses also raise questions around the free movement of people and the administrative burden of complying with regulation.  There are questions on the future of British trade, market access and trade agreements and on the balance of short term and long term costs and benefits.

The Committee will test evidence of a difference of opinion on these issues between small businesses and multinational businesses.

Chair's comment

Iain Wright MP, Chair of the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Committee said:

The decision the country takes on the 23 June is crucial to future jobs, growth, investment and prosperity across the UK. The result of this vote will no doubt have a huge impact on workers, consumers, and on businesses up and down the country and their ability to trade in a global marketplace.

Given the claims and counter-claims about the business opportunities and costs of leaving, or remaining in, the European Union, the Business Committee inquiry aims to get underneath the slogans and soundbites to help the public make a better informed decision on 23 June.

We want to know what membership of the European Union looks like to and impacts upon businesses across Britain, not just multinational companies but to the digital start-up in Tech City, the oil and gas fabricator in Hartlepool, the building firm in Cardiff, the accountant in Hull and the logistics company in Guildford. We also want to hear from the wider public, unions, consumer bodies and others on these issues.

Terms of reference

  • To what extent are the views of businesses based upon business considerations only, as opposed to wider considerations?  
  • What are the main reasons for the different views amongst businesses relating to EU membership? To what extent are they related to sector, size of business, volume of trade with Europe, region or nation of the UK? Have the results of the Prime Minister's renegotiation made a difference to these views?
  • In forming views about the impact on trade and investment of leaving the EU, what assumptions are businesses making: e.g. about future terms of trade (membership of European Free Trade Association, European Economic Area or new arrangements); freedom of movement; application of European regulations to the UK; access to R&D and innovation; consumer prices?
  • What might be the implications for future tariffs and market access from the EU referendum decision?  How significant might changes in tariffs be to business prospects compared with, for example, currency fluctuations, and other business factors?
  • What might the UK reasonably expect to achieve in terms of future trade agreements from either remaining in the EU, or leaving the EU and over what time period? What advantages for trade negotiations might arise from a decision to remain, or to leave the EU?

Deadline for submissions

Written evidence should be submitted by 15 April 2016.

Send a written submission via the Business views on the EU referendum inquiry page.

Further information

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