A series of events to help business leaders form a view on the EU referendum is to be organised by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC). Chamber surveys have indicated that businesses in the region are divided on the in-or-out issue. Paul Faulkner, chief executive of the GBCC, said: “The Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce will be working hard to deliver clarity and cut through the biases in this highly emotive debate.
“With that in mind we are organising a series of events which will help people understand the issues for business and the consequences of staying in or leaving. “In the months leading up to the referendum, we will actively join the British Chambers of Commerce by surveying business opinion and informing the debate. Additionally, we will be demanding clear information and facts from both the Remain and Leave campaigns so that businesspeople can make an informed choice at the ballot box.
“According to a recent British Chambers of Commerce survey of West Midlands businesses, if the referendum were held tomorrow; 50 per cent of members would vote for Britain to stay in the EU and 38 per cent would vote for Britain to leave the EU.
“As a result we will not be campaigning for either Remain or Leave, given the very real divisions that exist in business communities across the UK.
“But as the debate warms up, we intend to stay on top of the key issues that matter to businesses and keep people informed over the four months before the referendum.”
Mr Faulkner added: "The real test for the both sides of the argument is whether they can deliver tangible benefits.
"Many businesses will no doubt welcome a focus on reducing burdensome EU regulation and strengthening the internal market described in the Prime Minister’s deal. However, there remains uncertainty as to whether the deal is legally enforceable.
“The complex issue of migration will also be high on people’s minds. The needs of business for skills and labour must be balanced with the social impact.
"The choice facing businesses and businesspeople across Greater Birmingham is between remaining in a largely unchanged EU, albeit with some potential new safeguards for the UK, or a future outside the EU, with the near-term uncertainty and disruption of leaving.”