Campaigners for and against EU membership cannot afford to ignore the voice of small business, a local specialist has warned.
Andrew Thornton who runs TaxAssist Accountants in Otley said: “The tug-of-war has begun, with a 36-signature letter from the bosses of the UK’s biggest firms in favour of staying in Europe grabbing the headlines and Brexit campaigners pointing out that two thirds of FTSE 100 companies had not signed it. But those bosses get one vote like the rest of us.
“There are more than 5 million small private sector firms in the UK and those business owners have strong views and a high turnout record when it comes to voting.
“When we surveyed our small business clients at the last General Election, more than 90% said they would use their vote, compared to a national average turnout of some 65 per cent.
“Politicians of all parties and campaigners on both sides of the European argument ignore small businesses at their peril. Issues such as free markets, trading agreements, employment legislation, red tape and the overall effect on the UK economy will all play a part in persuading local business owners which way to vote.
“In the run-up to June 23, we want to see clear and well supported arguments from both sides, which clearly demonstrate that the needs of small businesses are understood and addressed.”