U.K. Companies Want Britain to Stay Part of EU, CBI Survey Says

Almost eighty percent of U.K. business leaders say Britain should remain a member of the European Union, according to a survey by the Confederation of British Industry.

Only 10 percent said it was in Britain’s interests to leave the bloc, the U.K.’s biggest business lobby said in a report published in London today.

“Firms want what is best for jobs and growth, and there is genuine concern that an exit would hit business investment and access to the world’s largest trading bloc,” CBI Director-General John Cridland said. “Businesses do have some serious concerns about the EU, but ultimately they want the U.K. inside the tent winning the argument for reform.”

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has promised a referendum on EU membership by the end of 2017 if a Conservative government is elected in the 2015 general election. The opposition Labour Party has yet to say whether it would hold a referendum if it wins.

The CBI survey found there is frustration among business leaders with Britain’s current relationship with the EU and the burden of regulation. The benefits of membership outweigh drawbacks, respondents said, with 71 percent saying it has a positive or very positive impact on their businesses.

The poll covered 415 companies and trade associations that between them employ more than 1.5 million people. The survey, conducted by YouGov Plc between June 13 and July 30, had a response rate of 27.6 percent.