Majority of agency bosses fear effects of EU exit

Leaving the European Union would damage the UK PR industry, according to sixty per cent of PR agency bosses polled by the PRCA.

David Cameron: planning an in-out EU referendum
David Cameron: planning an in-out EU referendum

Three fifths of agency MDs responding to a PRCA Leaders Poll said they believed their own business would be negatively affected by leaving the EU.

The poll follows David Cameron’s speech yesterday on the future of the UK’s relationship with Europe. During his address Cameron pledged to hold an ‘in or out’ referendum during the next parliament if the Conservatives return to power.

Additionally, almost three quarters argued that the British PR industry benefits from inclusion in the European Union and the same proportion believe that the period of five years of waiting time before a referendum could negatively impact on foreign investment in British businesses.

Just 13 per cent felt their business would benefit if Britain were to leave the EU.

PRCA comms director Matt Cartmell said: ‘With the growing global ties of UK PR agencies, there could be damaging effects to their networks, and I hope that David Cameron thinks long and hard about the potential issues with his proposals.’

The response of the wider business community to Cameron’s pledge has also been mixed.

Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of Burson-Marsteller parent company WPP, told CNN : "This is a political decision, not an economic decision. If I'm looking at it from the point of view of WPP, it’s not good news. It’s at best neutral, at worst negative. So it can't be positive. You just added another reason why people are going to postpone investment decisions. And that last thing we need is people postponing more."

The Confederation of British Industry, the UK’s largest business body, and a letter signed by group of UK CEOs pledged support for the referendum plan.

However, other notable organisations, including the British manufacturers' association EEF, and the UK boss of Deloitte warned of the potential uncertainty the referendum plan would cause.

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