Majority of contractors want to stay in EU

Majority of contractors want to stay in EU

6 November 2015

A survey has found that a majority of UK contractors would vote to stay in the European Union (EU) if a membership vote were held tomorrow.

The research, which was published by The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) last week, found that 61 percent of contractors want Britain to remain a part of the EU.

This majority outweighs the 24 percent who would vote to leave and the 14 percent who were undecided.

In a separate question about whether continued membership would be in their businesses’ best interests, 41 percent of freelancers said that they would vote to remain whatever the outcome of the membership renegotiations.

Whereas 29 percent said they would vote to stay if certain reforms were achieved and only 12 remained opposed to the EU regardless of the outcome of the negotiations.

The results came after Prime Minister David Cameron warned against a belief that Britain could be better off with a loosely connected Norwegian-style trading relationship with the EU.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions last week, Mr Cameron said: "Some people arguing for Britain to leave the European Union - not all people, but some people - have particularly pointed to the position of Norway saying that is a good outcome. I would guard very strongly against that.

"Norway actually pays as much per head to the EU as we do. They actually take twice as many per head migrants as we do in this country but of course they have no seat at the table, no ability to negotiate.”

IPSE chief executive Chris Bryce was concerned by the finding that “Many freelancers don’t understand the implications” of membership.

He argued: “The ‘remain’ and ‘leave’ campaigns must spell out what would change for people running a business if their campaign succeeds or fails.”

Rosie Makepeace, Business Development Manager at Umbrella.co.uk believes that it is still too early to effectively judge the opinions of independent contractors and small firms.

She said “Some of our contractors think that they could be more competitive with Britain outside of the EU, while others worry about the knock-on effects of larger firms exiting the UK market. At present though, the uncertainty element makes it difficult to provide an objective judgement.

“At this early stage I would urge David Cameron to re-double his negotiating efforts so that contractors have more time to digest the relevant implications well before the 2017 deadline.”