80% of builders will base EU decision on broader personal beliefs

Published date: 23 May 2016

More than 80% of bosses of small construction firms will overwhelmingly base their decision to remain or leave the EU on their broader personal beliefs instead of their business interests, according to a new poll by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

The poll also showed that:

  • Builders rank the UK Government’s ability to freely legislate in a way that specifically meets the needs of British business as the biggest benefit of Brexit
  • Most support from builders for remaining within the EU stems from continued economic stability membership would be likely to provide
  • More than half of small construction business owners do not feel well informed when it comes to issues that might affect their businesses when it comes to the EU referendum.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “The outcome of June’s referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU will have significant ramifications for construction SMEs, regardless of the outcome. That’s why it’s fascinating that more than 80% of our members have indicated that their vote will be determined by their personal beliefs ahead of anything else. It just goes to show that although it’s important to explore the business case for leaving or remaining within the EU, for many people their decision will be based first and foremost on other drivers. These could include the desire to be part of the wider European community or a compulsion to reclaim British national sovereignty.”

Berry continued: “However, a recent survey by Ipsos MORI revealed that the public want to hear the perspective of SMEs more than any other type of business. Unfortunately our research shows that the people who run small construction firms feel that the ongoing debate over Brexit has done little to enlighten them on the issues that really matter, with 52% stating they do not feel well informed on the issues that might affect their businesses. This is perhaps a reflection of how few of the impartial facts that are so widely craved have actually been offered by either side. No wonder then, that the vast majority of builders will be opting to vote based on their wider personal beliefs, when the economic and business case of each argument remain so unclear.”

Berry concluded: “What’s clear is that few sectors are more sensitive to uncertainty than construction. Already, there are signs that the unpredictability surrounding the outcome is beginning to sag on industry confidence as investment is deferred and home owner confidence wanes. This explains why continued economic stability has been cited as the best reason to remain in the EU. On the other hand, 40% of SMEs identified the potential freedom that Brexit could grant the Government to set legislation that truly meets the needs of British business as the biggest potential positive of Brexit. ”

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