Three-Quarters Of Businesses Back Staying In EU

About three-quarters of Scottish businesses want to remain in the European Union (EU), a survey has found.

With a referendum to be held on the UK's continued membership of the EU, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce questioned business leaders over their views.

If the vote was to be held tomorrow, 73.5% said they would vote to remain a member, with 13.5% stating they would vote to leave.

About 12.5% are still unsure how they will vote while about 0.5% say they would not cast a ballot.

Large companies were the most supportive of membership, with 90.5% in favour of the EU, compared to 79.2% for medium-sized and 71.8% for small businesses.

Half of respondents who would vote to remain said they were "completely committed'' to that view while just over a quarter of those who would vote to leave were similarly committed.

According to businesses, the main focus of David Cameron's reforms should be on gaining greater powers for the UK Parliament to block proposed EU legislation, allowing the UK to opt out from "ever closer union'' between EU member states and gaining greater control over migration.

The survey questioned 504 Scottish businesses last month.

Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Network, said: "Views are already being formed but with 45% of businesses likely to be influenced by the content of the Prime Minister's renegotiation package, it is important that as much information and detail as possible is presented to business and the wider electorate.

"Currently, 27% of respondents said that they were completely unfamiliar with the content being proposed within the renegotiation package, with a further 43% only a little familiar with it.

"With Scottish businesses exporting over #12.9 billion of goods and services throughout the European Union, it is important that any change does not disrupt our ability to continue to trade and grow this market, creating wealth and jobs.

"The UK Government must up its game in terms of communicating with and listening to businesses on this vital issue.''