Business EU vote ‘unaltered by Cameron renegotiation’

File photo dated 6/1/2016 of a Virgin Media store in central London. The telecoms giant has revealed a 38% surge in annual profits thanks to record customer growth just weeks after announcing around 900 jobs were under threat. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday February 16, 2016. The group, which was bought by Liberty Global in 2013, posted a leap in underlying earnings to �377.5 million in 2015 from �274.1 million in 2014 as a jump in broadband customer numbers offset high numbers of TV subscribers quitting following a recent price hike. See PA story CITY VirginMedia. Photo credit should read: Nick Ansell/PA Wire
File photo dated 6/1/2016 of a Virgin Media store in central London. The telecoms giant has revealed a 38% surge in annual profits thanks to record customer growth just weeks after announcing around 900 jobs were under threat. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday February 16, 2016. The group, which was bought by Liberty Global in 2013, posted a leap in underlying earnings to �377.5 million in 2015 from �274.1 million in 2014 as a jump in broadband customer numbers offset high numbers of TV subscribers quitting following a recent price hike. See PA story CITY VirginMedia. Photo credit should read: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Most businessmen and women believe the outcome of the Prime Minister’s renegotiation of the UK’s membership of the European Union is unlikely to change how they will vote, according to a new study.

Research by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) showed that David Cameron’s attempt to reach a deal in the coming days has little effect on business opinion.

A survey of over 2,000 BCC members found that only a third will reconsider their voting intentions based on the package of reforms set to be finalised.

Three out of five said they will vote to remain in the EU, slightly down from a similar poll last September, while 30% would back Brexit, an increase of 3%.

BCC director general John Longworth said: “When we last surveyed Chamber members in September, we did not know the detail or ambition of the Prime Minister’s renegotiation package.

“Now our findings suggest that the renegotiation is having little impact on day-to-day business, or the vote of the BCC’s business community, since many made up their minds before knowing the outcome of negotiations, effectively discounting them as irrelevant.

“Our findings suggest that for businesspeople, this is a question of in or out - not renegotiation. Business remains divided on Europe, and business leaders’ views reflect the size of their firm and their export interests, rather than the current political debate.