Nearly 20% of UK Businesses Favor EU Withdrawal

Why a UK Downgrade Wouldn't Be a Big Deal
Kimberley Coole | Lonely Planet Images | Getty Images

Nearly one-fifth of British businesses favor complete withdrawal from the European Union, a new survey has found.

The survey of nearly 4,400 British businesses carried out by the British Chambers of Commerce revealed that 18 percent of businesses said a full withdrawal would have a positive impact.

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However, 64 percent favored Britain staying in the single market, but transferring specific powers back from Brussels to Westminster. Only 11 percent were against such a move.

"These results say a lot about the U.K. business community's attitudes towards Britain's relationship with the European Union. Companies believe that re-negotiation, rather than further integration or outright withdrawal, is most likely to deliver business and economic benefit to the U.K.," John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said.

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The results come at a time when Britain's prime minister is seeking to renegotiate the country's relationship with the EU. David Cameron has promised a referendum on Britain's role in the single market by the end of 2017, amid disenchantment over EU bureaucrats setting regulations on everything from hospital work hours to the environment, crime and social affairs.

Frustrations have also grown over the lack of reforms at the EU and the cost of bailing out troubled euro zone countries.

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In a pivotal speech in January, Cameron asked: "When the competitiveness of the single market is so important, why is there an environment council, a transport council, an education council, but not a single market council? "