EU Referendum & Chambers of Commerce


4th March 2016

On behalf of Dundee & Angus Chamber, and Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC), I would like to highlight SCC position and our position on the EU referendum in light of some business commentaries recently.

It has been and remains the policy of DACC and SCC that we are not going to take a corporate position on the EU referendum as our members have their own individual views that they would wish us reflect. We did not take a corporate position on the 2014 Independence Referendum but allowed members to express their own views through surveys, the results of which we shared with the wider public to better inform the broader debate. We are an inclusive body and wish all members to feel that we respect and value their views. We will not risk our objective independence by declaring a preference for one position or another.

We look forward to enabling a productive debate and conversation with & between members around the referendum, as we did in 2014.

Alison Henderson

CEO, Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce


The following article is to be printed in our next quarterly magazine, and is copied here for advance reading.

The European Union is an extremely valuable market for Scottish exports, worth £12.9 billion in 2013 – the most recent year for which figures are published. That makes up 46% of Scotland’s total international exports, highlighting the importance of the EU to the Scottish economy. Currently, there is a European Union Referendum Bill going through the UK Parliament. If passed, it will commit the UK to an in-out referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union by the end of 2017.

With the potential impact that any change in EU membership could have to businesses in Scotland, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Network carried out a business survey. This survey examined business views and attitudes towards EU reform, and the UK’s future relationship with the EU.


Results from the survey show that if an in-out referendum was held tomorrow, 73.5% of respondents indicated that they would vote to remain in the EU, with that figure rising to 90.5% for large companies. Additionally, 13.5% would vote to leave, 12.5% are undecided and a balance of 0.4% would not vote.

Of the 73% who would vote to remain today, half of the respondents indicated they were committed to that position, and 25% of those who would vote to leave were similarly committed. Voting preferences being in favour of remaining a member of the EU may perhaps be attributed to the negative impact which respondents believe leaving the EU would have on their business.

More than half (50.2%) of respondents tell us that they believe a change in the UK’s status in the EU would have a negative impact on their business. Whilst only 10.4% thought such a change would result in a positive impact.

Overall, businesses in Scotland are closely engaged with the ongoing debate regarding the UK’s membership of the EU, with 72.9% of respondents following the debate through reading about it at least once every two weeks. Conversely, only 4.7% indicated that they are currently not following it. Yet, 70.4% of respondents said that they were not at all familiar or only a little familiar with the Prime Minister’s proposed renegotiation package, but with views already being formed, it is important that as much information and detail as possible is presented to business and the wider electorate.

The reforms that businesses believed would have the most beneficial impact on their business, the top three were:

  1. Reducing business regulation/red tape (61.4%)
  2. Changing the balance of power between Brussels and member countries (43%)
  3. Changing the way the EU budget is spent (23.1%) 

Businesses in Dundee will be watching eagerly to see the developments of the debate. The Chambers Network will be ensuring that businesses and communities across Scotland will not be ignored and that the campaigners for both sides listen to the concerns and opportunities are listened to.

By Roisin Milligan, Economic and Intelligence Unit, Scottish Chambers of Commerce

Scottish Chambers of Commerce

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce is at the heart of Scotland’s largest and most influential business to business network.

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