Given the significance of the debate, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce's Constitution Committee worked to examine the arguments made for and against EU membership as they affect the Glasgow business community and wider metropolitan region.
Our focus has been to provide information to members and engagement to date has included a number of member events and the development of topic briefs on key issues affecting the Glasgow business community.
Key Questions from Business
In the lead up to the EU Referendum, British Chambers of Commerce and Glasgow Chamber of Commerce asked each of the official campaigns a series of questions focused on “what can business expect from the future under your preferred referendum outcome?”
The questions looked at issues impacting all business and specific sectors and included areas such as trade prospects with EU and non-EU states, customs and border management, skills and migration, prices and currency, business regulation, access to finance, tax, regional development funding, R&D funding and infrastructure funding.
A full list of the questions is available here and the response from each campaign is available through the relevant link
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, under the guidance of our Constitution Committee and in consultation with our members identified a range of topics of relevance to the city business community. We then produced a set of briefings to provide an overview of each topic and the relevance of the EU.
- Agriculture and Fisheries: The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is one of the European Union’s oldest policies and introduces support for farmers by providing price guarantees, subsidies and other support instruments, such as quotas and tariffs on some imported goods.
- Business & Trade: The EU’s single market plays a key role in facilitating exports and imports and securing foreign direct investment which significantly contribute to the UK’s and Scotland’s economic growth. In contrast, a frequently highlighted cost associated with EU membership is the trade regulations imposed and the associated impact on competitiveness.
- Energy: There is a strong economic rationale for establishing a Single European Energy Market as the EU aspires to do. Larger markets and fewer trade barriers theoretically create more competition and lead to lower prices for consumers.
- Higher Education: The UK leaving the EU is likely to have a negative impact on Higher Education in the UK. Research funding, funded exchange programmes and European collaboration programmes are deemed beneficial for UK universities and colleges.
- Human, Social and Employment Rights: Employment and social rights set out by the EU have regularly been praised as a crucial protection for British workers by trade unions, however, they have also been criticised for negatively impacting competitiveness, as they impose cost to British businesses.
- Key Sectors: The key sectors saw above average increase in employment in city with a 5.7% increase from 2011-2015 compared to a 2.2% increase in whole city. The sectors are considered crucial to our continued economic growth.
- Migration & Benefits: The main consideration will be whether the provisions of The Prime Minister’s EU deal will be able to prevent immigration to the UK and whether cutting migration is actually desirable.
- Transport: The EU has sought to create a single transport market which is deemed to have been beneficial to the UK’s economy, business and the transport sector by introducing competition, opening markets, reducing prices and enabling a better connectivity across Europe. EU regulation in the transport market has also been criticised for being too strict, especially with regard to State Aid regulations.
British Chambers of Commerce has also produced a series of information briefings for Chamber members.
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