EU referendum: details of business debates around the UK

- Leadership - Apr 22, 2016

The Institute of Directors (IoD) is hosting a series of debates aimed at businesses up and down the country, discussing the arguments for leaving and remaining in the European Union.

Whatever their views on the UK’s membership of the European Union, the IoD urges all businesses to consider the implications of the upcoming referendum. With only around six in 10 IoD members having even discussed the issue at board or senior management level, the IoD says business leaders need more of an opportunity to listen to the case from both sides.   

READ MORE: can business cope with uncertainty caused by democracy?

Allie Renison, Head of EU and Trade policy at the IoD, said: “Business leaders will have heard plenty of claims from both campaigns on what is at stake in this referendum, but trying to work out what really matters may at times feel like wading through treacle. We want to make sure our members get to hear the substance of the issue, rather than just the sentiment, so they can be confident they understand the arguments before they vote.

“Even if a firm doesn’t directly trade with the European Union, it might employ EU citizens, or be part of supply chain that could be affected by the outcome of the referendum. Business leaders up and down the country are telling us that they need to hear more practical arguments about whether, and how, Brexit would really affect their company’s future.”  

The IoD will be holding debates on the following dates, with more to be announced:

3rd May                Hook

4th May                Bristol

10th May              Leeds

17th May              London

19th May              Belfast

25th May              Chelmsford

25th May              Nottingham

26th May              Southampton

31st May              Cardiff

6th June                Edinburgh

11th June              Hull

Further dates to be confirmed in Manchester, Cambridge and Scotland. 

The IoD will not be campaigning in the EU referendum, seeing its role as representing its members’ opinions, and informing the debate on business issues. When asked following the Prime Minister’s EU reform deal in February, 60% of IoD members said they planned to vote to remain in the union, 31% said they intended to vote to leave and 9% were undecided. A new survey is currently in the field which will provide a snapshot of how business opinion is shifting as the referendum gets closer.   

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Read the April 2016 issue of Business Review Europe magazine.

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