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Support among businesses rises for UK staying in EU: poll

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The number of company bosses in Britain who want the country to stay in the European Union has risen slightly but just over half think Britain would eventually prosper on its own, according to a survey published on Monday.

[LONDON] The number of company bosses in Britain who want the country to stay in the European Union has risen slightly but just over half think Britain would eventually prosper on its own, according to a survey published on Monday.

The Institute of Directors lobby group said 63 per cent of executives who took part in its survey wanted to stay in the EU, up from 60 per cent in a previous poll in February.

Twenty-nine per cent wanted Britain to leave the bloc, down from 31 per cent, while 8 per cent answered "don't know".

IoD director general Simon Walker said the importance of the EU's single market and the ability to hire skilled workers from across the bloc were making business leaders increasingly supportive of staying in the EU.

"However, more members than not think the UK could ultimately make an economic success of leaving the EU, in particular believing that it would have a positive effect on employment red tape," Mr Walker said in a statement.

Previous polls of business leaders by various employers groups have shown strong support for remaining in the EU. But polls of the public show voters are narrowly divided ahead of the June 23 referendum.

The survey of 1,224 IoD members was conducted between April 13 and 28.

REUTERS