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Nearly three quarters of freelancers and micro-businesses are against the UK leaving the EU, according to new research by cloud accounting provider FreeAgent.
In a survey of 346 freelancers and micro-business owners carried out by FreeAgent, 73% of respondents said that they were not in favour of a “Brexit” and 72% felt that leaving the EU would have a negative impact on the UK economy.
The research, which surveyed owners of businesses with fewer than 10 employees, also revealed that few respondents felt that Brexit would would be good for their own livelihoods, with just 5% saying that they thought leaving the EU would have a positive impact on their business. In contrast, almost half said that they thought Brexit would have a negative effect on their business and nearly a third said that it would have no impact.
Larger businesses overwhelmingly back Remain. A CBI survey shows 77% are for remain compared to just 6% favouring Leave. However, the latest survey by the Federation of Small Businesses shows a much narrower margin, with 47% for in and 41% for out.
Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent, said: “Freelancers and micro-businesses – ie, those with fewer than 10 employees – comprise around 95% of the UK’s total number of businesses, yet they are regularly overlooked when it comes to discussing issues that affect the UK economy. But it’s clear that they have some very strong feelings about the EU referendum.
“We’ve found that the majority of these smaller micro-business owners are actually in favour of the UK remaining in the EU, and more than half of them believe that Brexit will have a negative impact on their own businesses. The overwhelming majority also feel that leaving the EU will have a negative impact on the UK economy.
“We work with many web-based small businesses who are increasingly selling products and services worldwide rather than just domestically, and I suspect they think a Brexit will create an uncertain future for them.
“For tech companies, in particular, the EU also opens up the opportunity to hire world-class developers from Europe who can work alongside the best talent from the UK to create more sophisticated technology, develop better products and services and to help build bigger businesses.”