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Too many voters think EU membership makes no difference to public services, despite clear evidence to the contrary, a report by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) warned today.
A poll, by ComRes for CIPFA, shows that a high proportion of people think that membership of the EU makes no difference to health and social care (46%), the quality of higher education (60%), consumer protection (44%) and regional economic development (40%).
However, a series of in-depth interviews with public sector chief executives, finance and service directors carried out by CIPFA, found far-reaching impacts of the EU were revealed. Rather than just analysing the economic influence the EU has on the public sector, interviewees described the positive impact of EU policy and regulation on public services and how cross-border collaboration between member states has acted as a catalyst for change.
CIPFA CEO, Rob Whiteman, said:
“Jobs, healthcare, defence and all the issues we care about rely on public services that are deeply interlinked with EU membership. This message has not got through strongly enough.
“Our research shows an extremely complex picture. Overall, in the research amongst public service leaders, respondents considered the benefits of EU membership outweigh the drawbacks.
“What is abundantly clear, is that decoupling the British state from the EU will cause tremendous upheaval for public services for many years.”
Findings of the report included:
Findings from the poll suggest that with security, the views of the public tally more with those of public sector experts that the EU makes a positive difference. The largest proportion(37%) believe the UK’s security would be better off if the UK remained in the EU, compared to 26% who say it would improve if the UK were to leave and 34% saying membership would make no difference.
The report also found that those leading the public sector with first-hand experience of the EU are more likely to be in favour of membership. CIPFA conducted in-depth interviews with 20 chief executives, service leaders and finance directors. 19 of them said they believe the benefits of EU membership brings to the public sector outweigh the drawbacks.
A copy of the report Treuble and strife: an uneasy marriage- the EU’s influence on UK public services is available online.
Data tables are available upon request.
For media enquiries contact the CIPFA press office on T: 020 7543 5830/ 5787 / 5675 or E: Saskia.firstname.lastname@example.org
More about independent interviews
CIPFA commissioned Coyne Research to interview public service leaders. In these interviews CFOs, service directors and CEOs raised the following issues:
More about opinion poll
CIPFA commissioned ComRes to interview 1,002 British adults by telephone between 18 and 20 March 2016.
ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables are available upon request and on www.comres.co.uk