With just over three months to go before the in/out referendum, a new poll by the London-based crowdfunding platform Seedrs finds investors and entrepreneurs are split down the middle on EU membership.
In a survey of 270, 51 per cent of investors and 48 per cent of entrepreneurs say they would vote to stay in the EU, while 47 per cent of investors and 43 per cent of entrepreneurs would vote to leave.
“The very even split between the in and out vote shows what a complicated issue this is,” said Jeff Lynn, chief executive of Seedrs. “It’s clear that this has become a debate lacking real information and that we are instead hearing soundbites from both sides.”
In a separate survey, the equity crowdfunder asked respondents what impact Britain leaving the EU would have on the UK start-up environment. Almost two thirds (63 per cent) said it would have a negative effect, while 16 per cent said it would be positive.
Like many European businesses, Seedrs is publicly backing Britain to remain in the EU. “We are a pan-European platform with London at our core, and we believe that we and our users stand to benefit from the open market that comes with Britain's continued EU membership; in contrast, leaving the EU creates a number of very real risks for the British business community,” said Lynn.
Risk to GDP
The Seedrs poll followed on from research commissioned by the business lobby group CBI, which showed the British economy could lose up to €127 billion, 5 per cent of gross domestic product, by 2020 if the UK were to leave the EU.
The report, conducted by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, says leaving the EU could cause a “serious risk” to the economy, with the country losing close to one million jobs.
“The EU funded CBI are desperate to recreate the same scare stories they spread when they urged Britain to scrap the pound and join the euro,” said chief executive of Vote Leave, Matthew Elliott. “They were wrong then and they are wrong now. If we want to take back control and strike the kind of free-trade deal the CBI refuses to even consider, the only safe option is to vote leave.”