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Pro-union finance profession votes ‘no’ to Brexit

11/04/16

  • Over half (55%) of accountancy and finance professionals believe leaving the EU would be bad for the UK economy
  • But 14% believe a ‘third way’ would be most economically beneficial
  • Most finance professionals (45%) believe uncertainty over EU referendum is damaging confidence in the UK economy

Over half of accountancy and finance professionals across the UK (55%) believe leaving the EU would be detrimental to the health of the UK economy, according to the latest research from specialist finance recruiter Marks Sattin.

However, a significant minority (14%) believe a ‘third way’ – similar to that adopted by Norway, Iceland and Switzerland – would be the most beneficial for the UK economy, which would involve membership to the European Economic Area but without formal vote over EU laws. Just one in ten believe a Brexit would be advantageous.

Previous research from Marks Sattin in the run up to the Scottish referendum also concluded that finance professionals are ‘pro-union’ with just one in ten (11%) supporting the financial and economic arguments for Scottish independence. 
 
Dave Way, managing director at Marks Sattin, commented: “Accountancy and finance professionals across the UK favour the security of remaining within the EU and continuing as part of a substantial organisation that can exercise real clout on the world economic stage. No doubt they are influenced by the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice which upholds EU law and the twin pillars of free movement of goods and people. Without this we would not have benefited from decisions like the overturning of the ban on British beef in France, which endured outside the EU’s realm of power. The UK also benefits from foreign direct investment which arguably would be less forthcoming as a lone wolf than as an EU member. Nissan, for example, may have chosen to build its European car plant away from Sunderland, which has since become the biggest private provider of jobs in the north east and triggered a wider motoring renaissance in the UK. However, a significant minority have been swayed by the ‘third way’ championed by countries like Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, which would still allow us to access the largest single market in the world and tap into the potential skillsets of 500 million people, but the flipside of this arrangement is the lack of formal vote on EU issues.”

Uncertain territory
The finance profession as a whole is more sharply divided on whether current uncertainty over the prospect of an upcoming EU referendum is damaging confidence in the UK economy. Forty five per cent agree that it is, while a further 40% do not think the economy is suffering.

Dave Way continued: “We are currently on the cusp of deciding the future of the leadership of UK PLC which now sits hand in hand with the future of our membership to the EU. We are already hearing rumblings from financial institutions that the UK’s attractiveness as a financial hub is looking less rosy. But a significant proportion of finance professionals remain optimistic and the dominant theme of 2015 has been economic recovery with ‘0’ inflation and the upturn for the Eurozone lifting confidence. However, the latest government data shows GDP growth slowing in quarter one of 2015 compared to last year.

“Unfortunately we may not be in any clearer position following the imminent election with many political analysts placing their bets on a 1974-style double election scenario – the uncertainty may play out for several months.”


 Data sourced from Marks Sattin poll of accountancy and finance professionals. 339 respondents.

 

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