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Richard Bell

EU membership harms jobs and growth, say North West SMEs

A large number of SMEs in the North West believe Britain’s membership in the EU is hindering job creation and holding back their businesses, according to new figures.

Data released today (February 9) by market research firm YouGov found that just under a third (30%) of smaller companies in the region think the EU makes it harder for them to employ new staff, while 13% think Britain’s EU membership makes it easier.

Further, 28% of the businesses polled said they believe EU regulation hinders them. In comparison, 24% said it helps.

Just over half of respondents (54%), meanwhile, believe the UK could trade and cooperate with the EU while retaining control over our economy. Under a third (30%) believe the single market is good for living standards and jobs.

The majority (57%) of SMEs in the North West also want the UK to have control over negotiating trade deals, instead of the EU (30%).

The YouGov survey comes as 73 business leaders from the region launch Business for Britain, North West, the business arm of the Vote Leave campaign that calls for Britain to exit the EU.

The North West regional chairman for Business for Britain, John Kersey, said: “More business leaders in the North West feel that the EU is hindering rather than helping them. EU rules are making it more difficult for us to expand and take on new staff.

“We’ve given away too much control over our economy to politicians in Brussels. I want to see powers come back so that we can make rules that are better suited to the needs of businesses in the North West.”

He added: “I believe that businesses in the region could thrive outside the European Union. It is the safer choice to vote to leave.”

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