Builders to base EU vote on personal preference

Thousands of small builders will decide their vote on the EU rerendum based on their personal preference rather than purely on business interests, a survey by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has found. The FMB represents the interests of more than 8000 SMEs in the building and construction industry. The survey of 240 of the organisation's members, shows 80% will base their decision of over whether to vote to leave or remain in the EU on personal beliefs.

The survey also shows builders rank government’s ability to freely legislate to meet needs of British business as the biggest benefit of Brexit. Most support from builders for remaining within the EU stems from continued economic stability membership would be likely to provide.

A month ahead of the EU referendum on 23 June the Treasury has released a report which claims a vote to leave the EU would result in the UK falling back into recession, with inflation likely to rise and the homebuilding market being hit by a 10% fall in house prices. The claims have been rejected as fundamentally biased by the opposing Brexit campaign.

According to the FMB, more than half of small construction business owners do not feel well informed on how the results of the EU referndum may affect their businesses.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “The outcome of June’s referendum on Britain’s EU membership will have significant ramifications for construction SMEs, regardless of the outcome. That’s why it’s fascinating that more than 80% of our members have indicated that their vote will be determined by their personal beliefs ahead of anything else. It just goes to show that although it’s important to explore the business case for leaving or remaining within the EU, for many people their decision will be based first and foremost on other drivers. These could include the desire to be part of the wider European community or a compulsion to reclaim British national sovereignty.”

Last week the results of a survey by Standard & Poor showed the majority of investors expect infrastructure investment to dry up for two years if the UK leaves the EU. Currency volatility would be the biggest concern halting positive investment decisions, according to the S&P survey, which followed claims by David Cameron that an EU exit vote would stymie investment from the European Investment Bank.