back to article Blighty's SMB tech ranks bitterly divided on Brexit

Britain’s membership of the EU has small tech firms divided. A survey of owner-managed businesses by accountant Moore Stephens found 60 per cent of SME owners would vote to stay in the EU with less than one-in-five (17 per cent) supporting Brexit. Mark Lamb, a partner at the firm, said: “Owner-managed businesses are concerned …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In, Out, In, Out, shanke it all about

    Do the ... well you know the rest.

    This won't end well. Even a vote to stay in won't stop the likes of Farage. Look what is going on in Scotland. The pro independence lobby are already pushing for another vote no matter what happens in June. I wouldn't be surprised if some parts of the SNP starts to say, vote leave and then we get to vote again.

    Shoot the lot of them (politicians) I saw. Life would be a lot simpler without them messing things up.

    Oh wait...

    1. Teiwaz

      Re: In, Out, In, Out, shake your dicks about

      dicks like Boris, May, Farage, Osbourne...

      1. Asterix the Gaul

        Re: In, Out, In, Out, shake your dicks about

        You 'forgot' some dicks like, BLAIR,BROWN,CAMERON.CORBYN.

  2. noboard

    Shock there

    The companies that want in are after cheap foreign labour, those who want out are fed up with the secretive way Europe is run. That pretty much sums up the arguments for both sides, so no need for any crappy politicion to harp on about how good/bad being in/out will be, because neither side has a clue.

    1. Doctor_Wibble

      Another difficult decision!

      On the one hand I want to give an upvote for the balanced post, but on the other, that post thoroughly deserves a downvote for the spelling.


      Edit: So an upvote because we have a choice on what we do or do not forgive, and there weren't any errant apostrophes. This time.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Another difficult decision!

        What's El Reg coming to? You can't get a proper gammar nazis these days.

        (I did not downvote the OP.)

  3. PaulAb

    This is what we need more of....

    The boss of Pk engineering wetting his pants and putting his staff under threat, and so what happens in his befuddled mind if we remain in and hit another recession inside the EU, or worse the EU just becomes a failed project as has been muted long before the Brexit movement became popular, he will be the first to be on the lookout for cheaper EU/international labour or moving the facility to India with his 'Core'. Grow up you moron, be a manager and manage.

    Also, I've got a fair amount of experience with imported EU workers, what used to be a 5 minute conversation with the UK ERP support team, is now 20 emails (I kid you not) interspersed with just as many phone calls to get the emails explained to me, I know this won't go away but at least there may be a modicom of employment control if we're lucky enough to exit.

    Again, to the knob that runs PK engineering, Grow up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is what we need more of....

      Lol, aren't we lucky that the out campaign is led by socialists who will ensure that the humble British worker will be given free beer every lunch and foot massages after their 7 hour working day. And definitely won't suddenly deploy a mantra of 'competitiveness' to justify cutting wages, and allowing tech firms (like Starbucks) to import really cheap specialists from really low wage economies. After all, we are now going to be selling stuff mainly to people who are quite poor, so got to keep costs down.

      And as to your ERP experience...sounds like you made a really bad choice of supplier. Isn't that basically your fault?

      1. PaulAb

        Re: This is what we need more of....

        1. Don't get your logic at all

        2. Selected the ERP when uk operations supported it

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This is what we need more of....

          and you didn't insist on an enforceable quality of service clause in your contract? tsk.., tsk...

          1. PaulAb

            Re: This is what we need more of....

            Yes, we do have a service performance level, yes, that was corrected but, after the issues were finally rectified, as you well understand, you are not going to wholesale change during important changes.

            Before this degenerates any further to the childishly patronising, my points are

            1. Pk engineering need to be rid of this person ASAP. Who in their right mind would tell their employees that they're not 'The core'( To the press for god sake), even if you held those beliefs personally, and then blackmail them with the childish rhetoric of the 'We're all doomed' rationale, and what do his customers/suppliers think of this ridiculous outburst, so I re-iterate - he must be a knob.

            In or out of the EU there are always going to be major challenges, where management is needed who look at the business in a rational way looking at the environment they are in and the environment that they may be in, a Blubbing Director/exec is the last thing required.

            2.Just as a patient is more comfortable with a doctor who speaks the same language, the same goes for many people in many other industries, the free movement of people is great, I like going to Barcelona, Rome etc. and don't mind being seen as an idiot when I need directions etc from a local, however If I were an Financial director of an Italian company who didn't speak Italian, although i was paid a reduced rate Surely I would still be unsuitable for the job, this is what is happening, particularly in the service industry. And as I said 'A modicum of control'.

  4. Anonymous Coward


    "found 60 per cent of SME owners would vote to stay in the EU with less than one-in-five (17 per cent) supporting Brexit"

    Why is it so hard to accurately deploy statistics?

    Sample size was n out of a population of m. Those in favour of remain was w, those in favour of (Br)exit was x, undecided was y and those unable to answer properly was z. By all means use percentages, provided that the sample size is given.

    Do that and you will be a man my son.

  5. AMBxx Silver badge

    prized talent from eastern Europe

    Is that what they call cheap imported labour now?

    I sell to businesses in EU and Switzerland. Much simpler to sell to Switzerland as no need to fill out all the daft VAT forms at the end of each quarter.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: prized talent from eastern Europe

      If you think a VAT form is fun, wait till your main market is India and you will really discover red tape (literally!).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: prized talent from eastern Europe

      Of course, all Eastern European people are cheap and willing to work for the living wage or less. We all "know" that they lack ambitions, are unskilled and are only ever employed because they are "cheap" and never because they actually know their shit.

  6. JeffyPoooh

    Border Control

    Nothing better in the world than standing in long queues at Border Control (Customs, Immigration), and then having involuntary discussions with officious numbskulls.

    Disclaimer: I'm Canadian. Sorry to intrude.

    1. Buzzword

      Re: Border Control

      Since the UK is outside the Schengen accord, we already stand in long queues at passport control anyway. Brexit or not won't change that.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Border Control

        Well, it could change the lanes from UK/EU and Others to UK and Others.

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: Border Control

          Well, it could change the lanes from UK/EU and Others to UK and Others.

          Or more probably, since we'll want to negotiate ease of access for our own business travellers and weekend citybreakers, four lanes: UK and Ireland, EU Schengen, EU Non-Schengen and Others.

          Now is the time to move into the signage business!

      2. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Re: Border Control

        We currently have shorter queues when entering other EU countries than non-EU nationals do.

    2. Otto is a bear.

      Re: Border Control

      Agreed, and you have to wonder why US securitypeople complain at the lack of borders allowing terrorists to move freely, um, I hadn't noticed any borders within the US with a large distributed population spread over many, many more jurisdictions than the EU wanting to have border controls between states. Their terrorists don't even have to import weapons illegally, they can buy them from Wal Mart quite legally with the support of the NRA.

      I'm also amazed that any business thinks that the bureaucracy surrounding any company of any size will change if we leave the EU. It'll still be politically driven by people who have no idea how business works and can't distinguish between the relative costs of a new measure to a big business over a small business. It will also take years to replace an EU heap of crap with a UK one, and I doubt it will be any better even then, and probably much worse. Most regulation comes about because business cannot be trusted to do the right thing on its own, and needs rules to follow, relax the rules and they will come back, only worse the next time a business forces a scandal.

      Government will always make it hard for SMEs because it isn't one.

  7. izzle

    Come on El Reg the headline is hardly supported by the stats. I know your tags are often 'tongue in cheek' but a 60% for in and only 17% for out would seem to be overwhelming not 'bitterly divided'.

    You will always have a small number of firms doing very well and a small number very badly from any major change in the business environment but this is because they are in specialised markets that will be the one's most affected by the change - whatever it is. However the 60 /17 % split clearly articulates that most people think staying in is the best decision for their business. This is also clearly reflected in the FT business polls. Simply looking at the leading out campaigners Farrago and Gove should be enough for most people. Can you imagine them running your company?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      You say that like the Tory Bremainers are paragons of virtue.

      The UK will end up having a referendum to settle a Tory party dispute.

      1. izzle

        Definitely not paragons of anything Dan, least of all virtue, I agree with you. None of the Tories come out of this well. I take your point about the referendum being a way out of Cameron's dilemma over how to control his Eurosceptics.

        But if you work for a living, staying in the EU is such a no-brainer that I really can't understand the arguments for an exit. Predicted loss of GDP is between 1% and 5% [best and worst case] of three separate economic forecasters. [scource FTimes today]. The two biggest UK property companies have both said that prices will at best stagnate and the commercial property market is already static in London and will undoubtedly fall if we exit, as companies relocate to the EU.

        Obama took the trouble to say directly that we will be a long time negotiating a trade deal and it is inconceivable that anyone in the EU - especially the French - will look kindly on us after we leave.

        As I said a no-brainer.

  8. Captain Hogwash

    If we leave...

    ...mustachioed, top-hatted, be-caped Tory villains will be stuffing little boys up chimneys before you can say "competitive". I exaggerate but you get the point.

    1. Teiwaz

      Re: If we leave...

      "...mustachioed, top-hatted, be-caped Tory villains will be stuffing little boys up chimneys before you can say "competitive". I exaggerate but you get the point."

      - sigh, probably if we stay too. The only difference is a 'leave' vote uses plan B. A 'remain' vote and we're on the slower more gradual Plan A.

  9. LaunchpadBS

    A vote to stay is a bad idea...

    For the same reason a SAP implementation is a bad size does not and will never fit all!!!

    The eurocrats running the super state have little interest in ALL the member states

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A vote to stay is a bad idea...

      Again the 'grass the other side of the fence' fallacy. Very few decisions that actually affect your life or business are 'made' by Eurocrats, but even if they were, in what objective way are their interests different to un-elected bureaucrats in Westminster or your town hall, or politicians elected with 35% of the eligible vote in a first past the post system, or appointed to the Lords because they shared a beer at uni with the PM?

      1. PaulAb

        Re: A vote to stay is a bad idea...

        So your point being that an extra layer of bureaucracy helps and that in contrast to 'Grass being greener on the other side fallacy' you believe in Happy Valley.

        Whether grass is greener or not, you or I won't know, what is certain though is, it is no more a fallacy in or out.

        In what objective way are the Eurocrats different to our bureaucrats, - none. They both serve thier masters which is the main problem with Europe.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Very few decisions that actually affect your life or business are 'made' by Eurocrats, "

    The most prolific "out" voice in our office has a few specific complaints, mostly around keeping out "potential criminals" (strange how only Eastern Europeans are potential criminals, not, say, Australians, but that's another thing) - but he does have one point a lot of people seem to take seriously: a recent project was sent through OJEU procurement, and it was a nightmare, which is loudly described as "stupid European rules"

    What he doesn't say, is that our commercial people made a choice to put it through that way, not EU rules: they could have chosen not to do that. Not an EU decision at all, a genuine "Made in UK" decision, Still used as "evidence" that the EU is bad, of course .....

  11. veti Silver badge

    People like stability. Film at 11

    People who have started their own business - those are people who've made business plans, done projections and forecasts, and think they can make a go of their business based on those projections...

    ... which were made with a particular set of assumptions about the future.

    Guess what those assumptions said about EU membership?

    Change the environment, and they'll have - best case - a heck of a lot of work to do over. Worst case, they'll just throw in the towel.

    This is a universal law in politics. People - rational people, at least - adapt themselves to their environment. What follows, then, is that any change to the environment is a threat to them. Even if you think you're helping them, you don't know what assumptions and solutions and workarounds they have in place that they're going to have to change.

    This, in a nutshell, is why every country in the world has a "conservative" party, and why it's disproportionately supported by older people - they've had longer to adapt.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Grossly misleading headline

    60% for staying in and 17% for leaving would be accurately characterised as SMEs overwhelmingly in favour of staying in.

    As someone who runs and owns a small tech business the only thing that surprises me is that the margin in favour of remaining is not higher.

    The transition would be extremely painful with uncertainty about the final arrangements causing postponement or displacement of investment decisions for many years. I have already seen a number of investments decisions postponed until after the referendum and colleagues in other companies have told me that they have seen a downturn that they attribute to the referendum so we are already seeing damage caused by uncertainty. The key indicator is projects being delayed until just after the referendum. Will they actually start if we vote to leave?

    Once things have transitioned, which will take at the very least five years, what will be the advantage? All of the EU legislation that we spend time on which is related to directives concerning product safety and performance we will still need to meet. Those directives are massively better, more sensible and lighter weight than the US requirements for example so they are very far from the worst that could be imagined.

    Any change is a burden and I am very sceptical that UK bureaucracy is better than EU bureaucracy, my experience to the extent that I can asses it, is the opposite. I certain that th ebest trade deals we could negotiate would be equivalent to what we already have and that there is a good chance they are worse.

    Overall we can be fairly certain of transitional costs and a sharp down turn in investment for many years followed by a final situation with risks of a worse trading environment and uncertain if any benefits.

  13. Asterix the Gaul

    Those businesses that want to remain in the E.U,do so for obvious reasons,they want a crutch to lean on & haven't got the balls to stand on their own two feet.

    The same goes for the politicians,they are fearful that the gravy train system that they help to sustain with our taxpayers money,will no longer apply to them.

    It's not too difficult to follow the money,the EU fills the pockets of those in this country that support the objective of workers living on the knees,get some balls you 'working class',fight for your rights,because you are about to lose them by staying in.

    The 'remains' say that we will be worse off outside,that's a big LIE,because the working class are getting poorer INSIDE, what sort of electorate on it's knees wants to welcome millions of Turks,Ukrainians & others to make matters worse?

    The Yanks are using PUTIN to advance their hegemony in Europe,they must be STOPPED,America is the real threat to Europe NOT PUTIN.

    Ukraine is absolutely CORRUPT,we will be paying countless billions of euro's to bail them out of their World Bank\IMF loans that have been defaulted on,in addition to that owed by them to Russia.

    By what REASON does America need warships or planes around the BALTIC,for one reason only, PROVOCATION,to garner a Russian response,thereby setting up PUTIN as the bogeyman.

    OBAMA sent American equipment to the UKRAINE for that sole purpose,bang on cue, those two 'Tory' fudge pushers, Hammond & Fallon fell in behind OBAMA in stirring the issue up by calling PUTIN a 'threat'.

    If the remainers win, this country loses,it's that simple.

    This country traded globally before the EU existed,Hong Kong is a 'British' former colony & the East India Comnpany is another,albeit colonial success story that's left agreat legacy in India.

    If America gets it's way, they won't be able to compete fairly,they will use the TTIP rules to 'LITIGATE' in THEIR courts, to financially RUIN Europe, company by company.

    Ask BP or VW what the real price of trading with America is,that's the snails progress of ruin,that ONLY America will win.


    1. Ally 1

      If you love the UK so much, why don't you try learn our grammar? It's easy when you get used to it. While you're at it, you may also learn that capitalising random words is generally thought of as rude.

      Oh yeah and your post is conspiritard nonsense. Apart from that, carry on.

      People like you are the reason that I'll never vote to exit. No genuine reason, or anything at all to justify your ridiculous assertions. How much did Putin pay you for posting?

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