Belfast Telegraph

54% of Northern Ireland's small firms would support sticking with EU

By Margaret Canning

More than half of small businesses in Northern Ireland would vote yes to the UK remaining a member of the EU, according to a survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The FSB said around 54.2% of businesses surveyed indicated they would vote to stay if the referendum on EU membership was being held today.

The 'yes' figure in Northern Ireland was higher than the UK average of 47%.

And the percentage of those small firms who said they were undecided, at 13.5%, was higher than the national average of 10.7%.

The figures were included in a study by the FSB on small firms' take on the EU referendum - an election promise by the Conservative Party. A vote is expected to be held before the end of 2017.

FSB Northern Ireland chairman Wilfred Mitchell said: "This research is a vital starting point in outlining the key issues and areas of concern for small businesses in the EU referendum debate.

"Regardless of what a company's current position is, there is a shared message that small businesses feel that they lack clear, impartial information on which to form their views."

Mr Mitchell added that the FSB would carry out further work to help members through the debate around the referendum.

"Our role will be to ensure the small business voice is heard in the discussion, and that our members have all the information they need for them and their business throughout this complex debate," he said.

Research by Danske Bank has also found that most people in Northern Ireland are in favour of staying in the EU.

When questioned for the bank, 58% of respondents said they were happy to stay in the EU.

Belfast Telegraph