London’s Finance Employees Favor Remaining in EU, Survey Shows

Pedestrians walk across London Bridge towards the City of London financial district, as the Shard tower stands on the horizon in London, on Oct. 10, 2014.

Pedestrians walk across London Bridge towards the City of London financial district, as the Shard tower stands on the horizon in London, on Oct. 10, 2014.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Almost three-quarters of London’s City employees would vote for Britain to stay in the European Union, with concern about jobs trumping a belief that the EU is hostile to finance, according to a survey.

Forty-nine percent of respondents said they would “definitely” vote to stay, if a referendum is held after the U.K. general election, and 24 percent would “probably” choose to remain, the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation said in a report Tuesday. However, 42 percent said the European Commission was “hostile” to City interests.

The City, London’s financial district, “is scared of the implications of an ‘out’ vote and about its vulnerability if the U.K. chooses to go it alone,” said Andrew Hilton, director of the CSFI. “Support for the EU is based on resignation rather than enthusiasm. Yes, the City wants to remain in the EU, but it doesn’t like Brussels, it fears European regulation and it is worried about the political drift of the EU.”

David Cameron’s Conservative party has pledged to hold a referendum on the country’s membership in the 28-nation EU by 2017 if it wins the election on May 7. Opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband doesn’t support a vote, saying it would be a “clear and present danger” to business.

Regardless of voting preference, 82 percent of those who replied to the survey said they did not foresee the U.K. leaving the EU “anytime soon,” the survey showed. If the country did vote to leave, a majority said it feared there would be a mass exodus to other financial centers such as Frankfurt, Paris, Dublin and Amsterdam.

The CSFI, based in London, provides research and a forum for debate and is sponsored by banks, insurers, the government and other professions, according to its website.

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