Senior executives warn that uncertainty over EU referendum poses major risk to UK plc
More than two thirds of senior executives (68%) polled by Interim Partners said that a referendum on EU membership would have a negative impact on UK businesses, with the prospect that the UK might leave the EU potentially harming businesses’ ability to access key markets and driving away foreign investment.
Interim Partners’ research found that an even higher proportion of senior executives (74%) said that the debate itself over whether to hold a referendum could be detrimental to UK plc.
The survey was undertaken amongst 500 interim executives, who are managers or senior executives, at or just below board-level, and are recruited on a short to mid-term basis.
Interim Partners explains that Britain’s role in Europe and a possible referendum has become one of the most hotly debated topics at this year’s European elections.
Business groups, such as the CBI, have said that the debate surrounding whether a referendum should take place has created a diversion from the UK’s top priority of securing growth and creating jobs.
Adam Kyriacou, partner at Interim Partners, commented, “The UK economy is finally starting to look healthy again, but the EU referendum is now looming larger on the horizon.
“The concern is that any doubts over whether the UK will stay in the EU could discourage business investment and undermine the attractiveness of the UK to foreign companies looking to base operations here.
“Interim managers occupy some of the most key senior roles in the private sector, so they are uniquely placed to assess the impact that the EU debate could have on UK businesses.”
Interim Partners’ research also found that more than half (54%) of interim managers feel that repatriating powers from Europe would improve the attractiveness of UK businesses.
Kyriacou added, “This is a clear example of the delicate balance posed by the whole European question.
“As far as most interim managers are concerned, being in Europe is vital, but greater autonomy over the UK’s ability to do what is best for British businesses is also important.”