Responding to the Prime Minister's comments on a potential European referendum, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

"Businesses want the ability to trade as part of a European single market, but they are growing more and more concerned about the cumulative impact of the rules imposed by Brussels.

"The Prime Minister is right to draw a distinction between 'the parts of our European engagement we want and those we want to end'. Businesses are exasperated by the endless stream of new European legislation and by court rulings that raise their costs and lower their competitiveness. But at the same time, they want free and unfettered access to other European markets.

"Before rushing into policy changes or referenda, ministers need to take a clear and unequivocal steer from the real economy, and ensure that any decisions favour our long-term competitiveness, not short-term electoral calculation."

The BCC is currently finalising a major consultation with Chamber members on their views on Britain's relationship with Europe.


Notes to editors:

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is the national voice of local business.

The BCC sits at the heart of a powerful nationwide network of Accredited Chambers of Commerce, serving over 100,000 businesses across the UK, which employ over five million people. For more information visit: www.britishchambers.org.uk

Media contacts

Liz Larvin
T: +44 [0]20 7654 5813
M: +44 [0]7825 746812

Lisa Morrison
T: +44 [0]20 7654 5812
M: +44 [0]7717682221