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UK businesses want new relationship with EU

More than half of British companies want to re-negotiate their relationship with the European Union, according to a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). But most do not favor a withdrawal from the bloc.

Around 60 percent of the more than 3,200 businesses surveyed in the BCC's latest EU Business Barometer believe that while leaving the EU would harm British business, further integration with Brussels would also damage the UK's prospects.

The majority of firms - 59 percent - are against a UK exit from the EU, down from 61 percent in the BCC's last survey in the first quarter of 2014.

According to the survey, a growing number of businesses feel that transferring specific powers back to Westminster would benefit British business. The BCC says the number has increased by 6 percent compared to the last quarter.

"They do not want to get caught up in the whirlpool of further integration - only 20percent of those firms we surveyed felt that this would be beneficial," John Longworth, director general of the BCC said in a statement.

"The prospects for UK business and trade would be improved substantially if meaningful EU reform were to take place," he added.

"Too many services companies, which together form the backbone of the UK export base, remain frustrated by the slow progress of the single market in services.

Longworth goes on to say that while the single market is a huge opportunity, businesses would like to see "secure safeguards for Britain against decisions the EU is yet to take. This will prevent Britain from the tangle of an ever-closer union that the eurozone will inevitably now pursue."

British Prime Minister David Cameron has said he would hold a referendum on Britain's EU membership by 2017 if he is elected again next year.

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