Belfast Telegraph

Hospitality providers are keen for us to stay in EU

By Margaret Canning

Nearly two-thirds of members of pub and restaurant trade body Hospitality Ulster are opposed to Brexit.

The body said it had surveyed 101 publicans and restaurateurs, with 65% saying they were happy to stay in the EU.

Just over one-fifth (21%) said they wished to leave, while 14% said they had not yet made up their minds.

A spokesman for Hospitality Ulster added: "As the representative body of the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland we remain neutral on the subject of the EU referendum." The organisation has campaigned on issues such as Easter opening hours in Northern Ireland.

And it said that last week's National Living Wage will compound existing challenges such as competing with the Republic's low rate of Vat on tourism, and business rates.

Last week the Northern Ireland Hotel Federation indicated it would not be campaigning for either side of the Brexit campaign, with its membership split on the issue. However, hoteliers Bill Wolsey and Lord Rana have said they want to stay in the EU.

The Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce has also said it will not be campaigning, but has indicated that 81% of its members were in favour of staying in the EU in a recent survey.

And the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is also taking a neutral stance. But it said that a recent survey found that 43% of small firms could be swayed one way or another.

The CBI in Northern Ireland and in the UK is campaigning in favour of staying in the EU.

Belfast Telegraph