Industry figures split on ‘complete madness’ of European exit plan

Weston businesses are not torn on the EU decision.

Weston businesses are not torn on the EU decision. - Credit: Archant

The business sector will undoubtedly be affected by the outcome of the EU referendum, and Weston employers have spoken out in a survey.

Barry Edwards, manager of Maria Care Limited, in Pastures Avenue, said in a survey conducted by Business West that he would vote to stay in the EU, due to the effect it would have on his workforce.

He said: “30 per cent of my workforce is from accession countries Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Portugal. UK workers are good but there is a stigma in the UK in working as a care assistant. There is no such stigma with EU workers.

“EU immigration is not the issue. Most EU workers are here to work not claim benefits, and they help run our critical services.

“Leaving the EU would be complete madness; the EU has its faults but the UK has no say on the outside.”

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However, Claron Graphics, in Nightingale Close, was a firm whose spokesman responded differently. Proprietor Simon Cardwell told the Mercury he believes the EU ‘limits’ small businesses.

He said: “Far too much red tape and regulations for very small businesses make it very hard to expand and start employing people.

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“I think after an initial adjustment period our country will be much better off out.”

The Federation Of Small Businesses (FSB) says 1,170 of its South West small business members took part in a survey, including many in North Somerset and Weston, and the results showed no clear overriding view.

The results showed 46 per cent of business owners in the area would like to remain in the EU, and 42 per cent would vote to leave the union.

This leaves 10 per cent undecided and two per cent preferring not to say, or indicating they would not vote.

Mike Cherry, policy director for the FSB, said the response rate indicates how important the upcoming referendum is to small businesses.

He said: “This high response from FSB members shows first and foremost the issues that will impact how smaller businesses will vote in the EU referendum.”

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