‘We’ve heard a lot from big business and corporations but what about the little guys’
‘When it comes to the upcoming EU referendum we’ve only been hearing from big business and corporations which is great but they’re not the engine that drives the economy.’
This is the view of Rob Vivian, who is managing director of Pure Comms – a fast growing telecoms SME that has offices in Cornwall and Bristol.
Rob employs 15 members of staff and the business has a turnover just shy of £2 million; with customers ranging from the Cooperative and Bonhams nationally, to Britannia Windows and Bristol Airport locally.
He says that groups that represent smaller businesses have been feeding into the debate such as the CBI and FBS but not many smaller business owners have made their feelings known about the upcoming referendum.
‘It’s probably because they’re too busy running their businesses and creating jobs to consider the issue or comment on it but at the same it is a once in a life time vote and whatever the decision, the impact will be huge.
It’s a bit frustrating that we’ve heard a lot from big business and corporates but not much from the little guys,’ Rob says.
He continues: ‘my view is that we should stay in the EU because it is better for business and the work and money it will cost to re-negotiate trade deals will be huge.
‘Furthermore surely it make sense for countries with common goals and in close proximity to be able to trade easily with each-other.
‘Nobody is saying reform isn’t needed and no business owner likes bureaucracy as it stifles growth; but we can affect more change from the inside.’
Rob says that he has noticed that uncertainty is starting to strangle confidence though, amongst businesses.
He comments: ‘It’s like the Scottish referendum again, some businesses are putting decisions on hold until they know we are either in or out. Uncertainty is never a good thing in business, so roll on June 24th I say.’
According to the CBI Director-General, Carolyn Fairbairn, leaving the EU would cause a serious shock to the UK economy, with a potential cost to UK GDP of £100 billion and 950,000 jobs by 2020 and negative echoes that could last many years after that.
But those who are pro-exit say this isn’t true and we would save billions due to the UK not paying a membership fee and also being able to set its own laws and directives.
Rob concludes: ‘It is clear that leaving the European Union would be a real blow for living standards, jobs and growth in the South West and UK.
‘Our economy is at least moving again and if it isn’t broke don’t fix it. I can’t talk for all SME business owners but even despite the flaws and challenges, I would vote to stay in.’