Majority of small businesses would vote ‘remain’ in a referendum today

30 July 2018

As the UK prepares to leave the European Union (EU), an absolute majority (56%) of small businesses have said they would vote to remain in the EU if a referendum was held today, according to a survey* carried out by Funding Circle, the UK’s leading small business loans platform.

  • This has increased from a minority since the UK triggered Article 50
  • Small businesses also say they want a so-called ‘People’s Vote’ on the final deal

This is a 7% increase since April 2017, when 49% of businesses surveyed said they were in favour of remaining in the EU. Even if businesses currently undecided or would rather not say voted leave in a referendum today, this would bring the total to 43% giving ‘remain’ an overwhelming majority.


In addition, 56% believe that the people of the UK should be offered a vote on the final deal establishing Britain’s future relationship with the EU, before our departure in March 2019.

Launched in 2010, Funding Circle facilitates lending to small businesses directly from a wide range of investors, with £1.2 billion of lending through the platform contributing £2.4 billion to the UK economy in 2017. In the same period, 45,000 British jobs were created and sustained by lending through Funding Circle.**

Funding Circle co-founder and UK Managing Director, James Meekings, said: ‘Small business owners have on the whole been supportive of a softer Brexit whenever we have spoken to them. Now we’re seeing their sentiment shift even further, with more of them than ever before saying they would support remaining in the EU and a majority wanting to make sure their voice is heard with a vote on the final deal’.

This comes just as the Prime Minister has navigated her Trade Bill through the Commons, with small business sentiment diverging from her position. The Bill passed with a narrow Government win against a Conservative rebel amendment looking to keep Britain in the Customs Union if no agreement were reached on frictionless trade by 21 January 2019. Of the businesses surveyed, 45% believed that access to both or either the Customs Union and Single Market is important to their business, with over half (57%) sighting exporting and importing as the main reason. Only 7% of small businesses believed their business would benefit from no longer participating in either.

Investors at Funding Circle include 75,000 individuals, local and national government, the European Investment Bank and financial institutions such as pension and insurance funds. By opening up small business lending to a wide range of investors, Funding Circle has improved competition in the market, supported job creation and reduced small business dependency on bank lending. To date investors have lent £3.5 billion to more than 35,000 UK small businesses. Businesses funded through the platform typically access the capital they need in seven days, and independent research found that 90% of businesses would come back to Funding Circle first in future.


Notes to editor:

* The online survey was sent to UK small businesses that have either borrowed through Funding Circle or expressed an interest. The average business that Funding Circle markets to has been trading for 9 years, has a turnover of ~£800,000 and employs 6 members of staff. The survey was undertaken between the 21 June and 8 July, and 965 responses were received.

** ‘The Economic Impact of Lending Through Funding Circle’ research commissioned by Funding Circle from Oxford Economics, June 2018.

For more information: / +44 (0) 203 667 2245

About Funding Circle

Funding Circle ( is a global small business loans platform, matching small businesses who want to borrow with investors who want to lend in the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands. Since launching in 2010, investors across Funding Circle’s geographies – including more than 75,000 retail investors, banks, asset management companies, insurance companies, government-backed entities and funds – have lent over £4.5 billion to more than 45,000 businesses globally. Funding Circle has raised approximately £250 million in equity capital from some of the same investors that backed Facebook, Twitter and Airbnb.

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