National referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the European Union

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If there is one story dominating the news at the moment it is the “national referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the European Union” and the taking of sides by various politicians, on Sunday we waited with baited breath for Boris Johnson’s decision on which side of the argument to promote.

Lots of our members as well as the press have been enquiring about the stance of the Forum of private business on this, so I thought it appropriate to set out the Forum’s view on this very important matter.

Having spoken to a number of our members and the staff here at the Forum, it is clear that opinion is split as to whether you think the country should vote to Leave or Remain in Europe.

The feedback suggests that opinions are divided, everyone has their own opinion and they have a vote by which to express that opinion, myself included, so with that in mind I feel it would be inappropriate for the Forum to take a side in this debate. The whole point of a referendum is that the power is put in the hands of individual people to make up their minds about the question, based on the arguments put forward by the respective campaigns – rather than the Forum seeking to direct how they should vote, so we will not be campaigning for either side of the argument.

But that said, I feel that balanced knowledge, insight and education are key to helping us all to make an informed decision and with that in mind we will be inviting contributions from business and thought leaders on both sides of the argument, so that we can communicate these to Forum members and give them the best possible information to help decide which way to vote!

I would also encourage members to share their views with us, we are a thriving business community and it is good to talk and hear other people’s opinions and points of view, the next few months will be very interesting!

Notes to editorsRepresenting thousands of small businesses across the UK – including retail, service providers and manufacturing companies – the Forum is recognised by the Government as one of the six main business support and lobby groups. It uses this position to influence decision-makers in the UK and Brussels on the issues that matter to small businesses.

The Forum has undertaken considerable research on business rates, the importance of business location and the infrastructure needs of the UK’s 1.2 million micro, small and medium-sized employers. This can be provided on request.

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