The campaign is hotting up for what will be one of the most important votes in UK history: to either remain in the EU or go it alone.

Arguably, it is more important than the next general election and will be a "once in a generation decision", according to Prime Minister David Cameron.

A survey by TTJ found that many people in the industry are undecided on the issue and want more information, others have leanings but a large number are currently unwilling to declare them publicly.

Whether the economic risks of remaining in the EU are bigger or smaller than the issue of rapidly increasing immigration is a choice facing many voters.

"Remain" supporters believe Britain gets a big boost from EU membership – it makes selling things to other EU countries easier and, they argue, the flow of immigrants helps economic growth and helps pay for public services.

They also think we are more secure as part of the bloc. But Brexit backers believe Britain is hampered by the EU, citing its bureaucracy and red tape on business, while they also want more control on borders and reject ever-closer union.

As TTJ went to press several polls were putting the Leave vote marginally higher than the Remain, but there currently doesn’t seem much in it.

Here are some of the views we found in the timber trade:

Dave West, Joint Managing Director of WL West & Sons Ltd

Europe In or Out? In of course. Being part of a construction industry that has come through the worst recession in history, what we need now is stability. Changing our status in Europe at this time, would, in my opinion, send us back into a plethora of uncertainty. Coming out of Europe would mean changes that could take up to another decade to implement. A period of yet more uncertainty. What no one can predict is the effect of us leaving the EU. Let’s face it, none of the banks predicted what happened in 2008, so who in their right mind would believe, with certainty, any predictions being made about us leaving the EU.

The general public see statements in the press and from MP’s about the amount of money that the UK commits to the EU, but there is very little made clear of what benefits that we receive. Without doubt our terms of membership need revisiting and reviewing regularly. But whether or not you think Cameron is addressing the right areas, at least he has brought our issues to the table. In a world that seems to be increasingly volatile, we are safer in the European Community than outside of it. So better the devil you know – IN definitely!!

David Hopkins is managing Director of the Timber Trade Federation

Quite why we are having an EU referendum right now is rather beyond me, especially considering the range of social and economic problems we face nationally and globally.

None of which will be resolved by this referendum.

However, given where we are, it seems the best one can hope for is a clarity and consistency of logic in the arguments of both sides. Some hope!

One key argument for the "Brexit" camp surrounds issues of regulation. The feeling being that there is too much of it and it all comes from Brussels.

However, do we really believe that we will stop creating regulation of our own? That it will be any less dense or constraining?

Of course not. In reality, we will be devising regulation in all the same areas, probably in exactly the same way. We’ll just have to do it all over again! Regulations in Brussels are drawn up by British input as much as any other nation.

Similarly, the "Bremain" argument claims that our economy will be stronger in Europe.

Given the economic performance of the Eurozone over the past few years this claim can also seem fanciful. The constraints of a "one size fits all" economic approach are very clear.

If anything, the referendum should make us think about those areas we consider important for social and economic development and then force us to become more proactively engaged – in Europe and in the UK – in achieving them.

André De Boer, European Timber Trade Federation Secretary General

"The EU brought us an open market with free flow of goods. It is obvious that this has been to the benefit of trade in all member states, including, of course, that between the UK and all its trading partners across the EU.

It is difficult to foresee what the consequences of a Brexit would be for the timber sector, but it is highly likely that they will be negative for Continental as well as British trade. There would be the risk that doing business between the UK and EU would become more complex. The UK, of course, would also lose input and influence in the development of EU regulations and standards, which its companies would still have to comply with, regardless, if trading in the Union.

The work of the ETTF, of which the UK is, of course a valued member, underlines how we can have greater impact and a stronger voice as an industry working together across borders. That applies to the whole EU trade as well. For instance, the EU Timber Regulation has the potential to have a substantial impact in blocking illegal timber from our market, with huge benefits for the legitimate timber business and its image. But its success depends on uniform implementation between countries, and achieving a level playing field in terms of enforcement burden on the timber sector across the EU. That can only be achieved through all EU member governments and the whole EU trade working hand in hand."

Arvid Nielsen, Operations Director of John Grimes Sawmills

Remain in or leave the EU?

Good question, and it has to be answered from both a commercial and personal view.

How many wood trade folk are there who can recall the trade post war to 1973? The days when the UK was benefitting cabinet and joinery manufacturing businesses employing 20, 30 or more skilled craftsmen and apprenticeships aplenty. Robinson, Wadkin, Dominion, Atlas and many more machinery manufacturers. We once had far more than we have now, ‘progress’ saw it all fade into a distant memory.

The majority of the ‘aware’ members of today’s British society have only lived and worked in Britain as part of the EU/EEC. ‘Free trade’ with our ‘borderless’ neighbour/sister states has been quite easy. No thick wads of customs/import documentation. Simple!

This nation rebuilt itself after a damaging war, hardship was the way of life and we stood proud! Can we truly stand up on our own again? Has Britain & importantly it’s people, the strength and wherewithal to be as ‘great’ as we were 71 years ago?

We are a £2bn per year plus industry, we have imported wood for hundreds of years, there’s nothing to it! Anyone remember how we used to do it in the ‘good old days’?

Stay safe or take a risk?

Geoff Rhodes, Of Geoff Rhodes Associates, (Industry Consultant, Mdf Specialist and Former President of TTF (2002-2004)

UK voters have often been reluctant Europeans. There are clear economic benefits to integration with the world’s largest common market. Yet these benefits come with perceived costs. The leave camp, for example, points to burdensome regulations, large EU budget contributions and big inflows of migrants from member states.

But attitudes toward European integration tend to fluctuate with economic cycles. Euro scepticism most recently peaked during the European debt crisis of 2011. Attitudes to Europe were deeply negative in the UK then, whereas they were neutral in the EU overall. Citizens became more upbeat as debt troubles eased and economies started to eke out some growth, yet the recent refugee crisis has arrested this trend.

There are days when waves of pan- Europeanism wash over me and I’m thinking Europe is great and Europe is good. And there are days when something on the news makes me think that Nigel Farage talk’s resoundingly good sense. But, Europe is not binary. It’s met its primary goal of avoiding major European conflict for 70 years, but at what cost? The Euro has proved to be an expensive challenging experiment – which the European leadership have lacked the bravery to resolve. As a direct result, industrial production is still lagging 2008 pre-crisis levels, the entire continent is beholden to ECB largesse and politics across the Union remain in turmoil.

But should we take the risks of leaving or face the costs of staying and making it fit for purpose? Sadly, these questions are not being addressed well enough.