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Majority of Tory candidates say EU ‘bad for business’ – new poll

UK Chamber of Shipping

3 min read Partner content

57% of Conservative candidates at the forthcoming election believe the EU has been bad for British business, according to a new poll commissioned by the UK Chamber of Shipping.

When asked the question ‘On balance, does membership of the European Union have a positive or negative for British industry?’ 57% of conservative candidates said negative whilst only 20% said positive.  85%% of Labour candidates meanwhile argued that membership of the EU had a positive impact on industry.

The poll, of 100 candidates at the 2015 election, shows the next Parliament could become more Eurosceptic, when compared to an identical poll of current MPs.

Of current MPs, 28% of Conservatives believe the EU has been good for British industry compared to 48% who said the reverse.  96% of current Labour MPs believed the EU was good for British industry.

On balance, does membership of the European Union have a positive or negative impact on British industry?

You can download the full report and analysis here.

Guy Platten, Chief Executive of the UK Chamber of Shipping said:

“We know there are plans to renegotiate the UK’s membership of the European Union, but the Government needs to do more to explain what renegotiation means for business, or indeed the country.

“There is no doubt that this debate is creating uncertainty for business, and with a proposed referendum just two years away understanding the views of our politicians towards Europe is vital.

“More than 50% of the UK’s international trade is conducted with Europe, so there is a clear role for the EU to play in supporting industry – most notably in promoting trade and fostering economic growth.

“Shipowners operate globally, and any system that removes barriers and allows free trade is a good thing.  

“That said, the shipping industry has a global regulator, the UN’s International Maritime Organisation.  As a result there is a global level playing field, but whenever a regional power such as the EU creates its own regulations the concept of a level playing field comes under threat, and as a maritime nation the UK is disproportionately affected.  

“What is clear, is that if a renegotiation of the UK’s membership goes ahead, industry groups such as the chamber will need to play a huge role in explaining to politicians the impacts, both for the better and for the worse, of Europe on British business.

The poll is published by the UK Chamber of Shipping ahead of European Shipping Week, which will take place over the course of the week of 2-6 of March 2015. The week is intended to be a platform where policy-makers from the main EU institutions will meet and engage with European shipowners and other stakeholders from the shipping sector. The focus will be on shipping, in all its different aspects.

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