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Richard Bell

Northern Powerhouse firms support EU membership

A poll carried out at the recent UK Northern Powerhouse International Conference & Exhibition in Manchester has found that more than two-thirds of businesses want to remain part of the European Union.

Of those surveyed at the event by research firm Ipsos MORI, 68% said they believe staying in the EU would be the best outcome for their business

According to the findings, just 15% of those at the conference support Britain’s exit from the EU. Further, 57% said a Brexit would negatively impact the economy, with 54% believing it would have a negative effect on the North specifically.

The conference’s managing director, Keith Griffiths, said: “This polling, commissioned from Ipsos MORI for the UK Northern Powerhouse International Conference & Exhibition, is a clear sign that the Northern Powerhouse strongly believes that we are better off staying in a reformed EU and is against Britain leaving Europe.

“It’s crucial that Northern businesses have unrestricted access to a continental market of 500m people in order to continue to grow, invest and create jobs.”

He added: “Leaving the EU would deter investment, threaten jobs and put the economy at risk. Britain will be stronger, safer and better off remaining a member of the EU.”

Elsewhere, 64% of of the survey’s respondents said a Brexit would harm Britain’s trade with the rest of Europe, while 57% said it would negatively impact foreign investment in the UK.

Matthew Bristow, the associate director of Ipsos MORI North, commented: “The findings of our survey conducted with business delegates attending the conference supports our recent wider research with UK Captains of Industry (interviews with senior executives from the top 500 UK companies by turnover), in which 87% would prefer to remain in the EU.

“We are therefore starting to see a consistent message from businesses overwhelmingly rejecting the prospect of an exit from the EU.”

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