Douglas Carswell

18 SEP 2015

Small Business is not for staying

We are constantly told that business wants Britain to stay in the EU. But does it?

The FSB's new survey of small businesses in the UK suggests no such thing. Look behind the spin, and the figures are startling: less than half (47%) of small businesses surveyed support staying in, and under 35% believe the EU is good for their individual business.

Meanwhile, over 40% are in favour of leaving the EU.

But should this be a surprise? Most of what small businesses produce and sell isn't for the single market at all, but instead for domestic consumption or non-EU markets. Yet whether or not they sell to the EU, small businesses still have to comply 100% with EU red tape.

Why should a coding company doing business in India, or an agri-business selling to Russia and Latin America, or a hairdresser serving customers in Clacton have to conform to rules introduced under the auspices of the Single Market? Is it any wonder many want out?

More revealing is that many small businesses don't feel informed about the EU and its impact on Britain. They are told that we need to be members of the EU to trade with it.

But common sense shows otherwise. Non EU Switzerland exports 5 times more per person from outside the Single Market than we manage from within.

If the Stay spin machine can't even get business onside, then the submit-to-EU campaign is really in trouble.

The challenge for the Leave campaign is to show how leaving the EU is better for business and trade. We are making that case - and the polls reflect it as the deep scepticism of the FSB members shows.

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Printed by Douglas Carswell of 61 Station Road, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex