CEA publishes Brexit barometer results

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In the run up to the EU referendum in the UK today (Thursday, June 23), the CEA (Construction Equipment Association) surveyed its members on their position – should the UK stay or should the UK leave the EU?

Of those expressing a view: 63% supported the Remain camp; and 11% sided with the ‘Leave’ option. However, over a quarter (26%) of respondents recorded an ‘Undecided’ on their corporate position.

The CEA Brexit survey results are similar to a poll of its members by the EEF, the manufacturer’s organization, in which 61% were pro-EU membership, 5% against and 24% undecided or with no corporate position.

A similar survey conducted among participants at the Plantworx exhibition suggests support is holding within the industry for the Remain campaign. The results suggest that support is strongest at a company policy level, with 48% favoring remaining within the EU, compared with 26% in favor of leaving. In comparison, when asked for a personal opinion, the margin is narrower, with 52% in favour of maintaining membership, while 42% are in favor of leaving.

At the recent Construction Productivity Forum in London on June 8, a ‘show of hands’ was asked for on the subject of the EU Referendum. Among an audience of approximately 100, the vast majority showed support for remaining in the EU, with only three declaring support for the Leave campaign.

CEA chief executive Rob Oliver said, “Now we are into the final countdown for the referendum, it remains clear that a significant majority of the CEA’s members, who have a corporate position, support Remain. However, when individuals are asked the same question, it seems that the response is more Eurosceptic.

“From the CEA’s point of view, we have had a lot of challenges and frustrations over the years working with the European institutions, so we know that the current situation is far from perfect. However, we also know that business confidence thrives on a degree of stability – and Britain’s withdrawal from the EU represents a giant leap into uncertainty. The EU market itself, while not buoyant, still remains an important part of the construction equipment sales picture.”

The CEA has conducted some analysis of exports of construction and earthmoving equipment as an issue of relevance to the Brexit referendum. For equipment, this illustrates how exports to EU27 countries have remained stable at approximately £150-£170m (US$220m-US$250m) per quarter across the last three years, while overall exports have declined.

For example, in Jan/Mar 2016 exports to the EU27 were £163m (US$240m), similar to the 2013 quarterly average, and 1% up on Jan/Mar 2015.

During the same period, exports to markets outside of the EU27 have declined significantly. For example, in Jan/Mar 2016 exports to other markets were down 38% on the 2013 quarterly average at £187m (US$275m).

As a result of the stability of exports to the EU27 across the last 3 years, their share of total exports has increased from 35% in 2013 to 47% in Jan/Mar 2016.

June 23, 2016

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Tom is editor of ivtinternational.com and iVT magazine. During his 20 year career in journalism Tom has worked for a diverse range of titles including Men's Health and Cosmopolitan. He also edits iVT's UKi Media & Events stablemate Traffic Technology International.

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