David Cameron is back from his "battle in Brussels" and his reward for his efforts were some considerable reforms on the UK's EU membership agreement including:
- Child benefit - Child benefit payments to migrant workers to be recalculated.
- Migrant welfare payments - The UK can decide to limit in-work benefits for EU migrants during their first four years in the UK.
- Eurozone - Britain can keep the pound while being in Europe, and its business trade with the bloc, without fear of discrimination. Any British money spent on bailing out eurozone nations will be reimbursed.
- Protection for the City of London - Safeguards for Britain's large financial services industry to prevent eurozone regulations being imposed on it.
- Sovereignty - The UK will not be part of an "ever closer union" with other EU member states.
- 'Red card' for national parliaments - It will be easier for governments to band together to block unwanted legislation.
- Competitiveness - The settlement calls on all EU institutions and member states to "make all efforts to fully implement and strengthen the internal market" and to cut red tape.
- Some limits on free movement - Denying automatic free movement rights to nationals of a country outside the EU who marry an EU national. There are also new powers to exclude people believed to be a security risk.
But what do UK businesses think about these reforms?
According to the Financial Time bosses more than a third of the companies in the FTSE 100 have declared that Britain is better in the EU and that Brexit would lead to potential job losses and affect investment. Companies including Vodafone, easyJet, BT and Barclays believe an exit from the EU would be negative for the British economy.
Moody's, a key investors service, said: “A decision to leave the EU would be credit negative for the U.K. The economic costs of a decision to leave the EU would outweigh the economic benefits.”
On Monday London Mayor Boris Johnson, a high profile figure, said he'll campaign to quit the EU. Since then the pound dropped to its lowest level in almost 7 years against the dollar, the biggest decline since 2009.
Are you a business owner? Do you think the UK is better in or out of the EU? Let us know your thoughts.360ict provides managed IT services and support for SMEs in central London and the south-east, including Croydon and Bromley. For more advice on gaining competitive advantage as a mid-sized company, give us a call on 0208 663 4000.