In or out of Europe? Milsted Langdon leads debate

South West SMEs – EU poll result

Milsted Langdon recently conducted an EU – In or Out poll involving more than 250 South West SMEs eager to share their views on the benefits and disadvantages they might face as the result of either outcome from the 23 June referendum.

SMEs are the backbone of the UK economy with a total annual turnover of more than £1.8 trillion. They employ more than 15 million people, accounting for 60 per cent of all private sector employment in the UK.

There are around 11,000 SMEs per 10,000 adult residents in the South West (2015), placing the region behind only London and the South East in terms of commercial activity.

The results showed the clear majority of Milsted Langdon’s SME poll respondents wanted Britain to remain part of the EU as 59 per cent backed staying in Europe due to the benefits the current trading position offers them and, by extension, the South West. Thirty six per cent backed Brexit, and five per cent felt unable to make an adequately informed decision.

This poll result offers convincing evidence that the Leave Campaign has either not touched the South West – or has left it untouched. Current prevailing opinion is that Brexit would be detrimental to SMEs in the region and that remaining with Brussels is vital, in order to preserve long-established business interests that have arisen from overseas trading connections and contacts since Britain joined the Common Market in 1973.

Milsted Langdon’s EU-In or Out seminars


Milsted Langdon also opened the EU – In or Out debate to local business owners in Bath, Taunton, Yeovil and Bristol in each week of May. Each seminar was attended by up to 50 professionals from various sectors.

The firm also held a dinner on HMS Belfast in London on 5 May which was attended by business leaders, a trade commissioner and other influential professionals.

Milsted Langdon’s Consultant Economist, Kevin Butler, hosted each EU Referendum: Myths, Legends, Opinions and Facts presentation and seminar discussion on the carefully examined pros and cons for businesses of remaining in the EU or seceding from Brussels.

All five EU – In or Out events stimulated intense and diverse discussion among a very wide range of businesses airing their immediate and long term concerns over the EU conundrum.

‘Raised hand’ polls at every one mirrored Milsted Langdon’s SMEs’ vote outcome, with a significant majority of delegates being in favour of remaining in the EU and very few expressing a desire to leave.

ML-seminar-2(photo by Paul Gillis)

Kevin Butler’s Bank of England work in the South West forged strong regional links and an unmatched pedigree that combine to qualify him to judge critically how economic and business factors are likely to alter in the region if Britain’s EU status changes.

Kevin believes the feedback from his EU Referendum: Myths, Legends, Opinions and Facts seminars indicated an increased understanding of the potential impact of either referendum outcome. He also expressed confidence that the information he shared would assist business owners, professionals, traders and individuals to make a clear and informed decision when voting on 23 June.

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