Almost 60% of UK mid-market manufacturers back staying in the EU

Posted on 11 Mar 2016 by Jonny Williamson

The UK’s mid-sized manufacturing companies are in favour of staying in Europe and say leaving the EU would make it harder to run a successful business, according to new figures published today by accountancy and advisory firm, BDO LLP.

Following the Prime Minister’s negotiation with the European Council, 59% of mid-market manufacturing firms surveyed (those with revenue of between £10m – £300m) want to stay in Europe under David Cameron’s new terms.

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The poll found that 67% of mid-market manufacturers believed that leaving the EU would make it harder to run a successful business.

The mid-market is politically and economically important to the UK.  While making up only 1% of all UK companies, these firms create 1 in 4 private sector jobs and are responsible for around one third of the UK’s total revenue (more than £1tn a year).

Despite being in favour of staying, mid-market firms do want further changes to the EU.

When asked what other reforms they would like to see, 73% of firms wanted less red tape and gold-plating of EU legislation to make it easier to do business. In particular, those polled wanted to see regulatory off-setting with every new regulation adopted leading to one existing EU regulation removed.

Improving trade agreements to help boost exports was also highlighted by the mid-sized manufacturing firms surveyed; 44% want the EU to have a greater focus on trade agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the US and other high growth markets like India.

Further liberalisation of markets to make it easier to trade across Europe was also flagged by the mid-market manufacturers; 23% would like to see greater progress with creating a digital single market making it easier for consumers to buy online across Europe.

Tom Lawton, head of manufacturing, BDO LLP
Tom Lawton, head of manufacturing, BDO LLP.

Head of Manufacturing at BDO LLP, Tom Lawton commented: “Exports and international trade are critical to UK mid-market manufacturers.

“These firms are entrepreneurial, have high-growth targets and are focused on international expansion, so it’s no surprise that the over half of them support remaining within the European Union.

“Despite being supportive, mid-market manufacturing companies want to see further EU reform. They want an end to gold-plating, greater progress with trade agreements and increased liberalisation of markets. They are clear that this will create jobs and growth for the UK”.

The data is part of BDO’s New Economy campaign, which includes a set of policy proposals developed by BDO aimed at putting the entrepreneurial mid-market at the heart of the UK’s economy.

The full set of BDO’s policy proposals can be found at