North East businesses urge Britain to vote '˜In'

Twenty-nine North East businesses are urging Britain to remain part of the EU.

Wednesday, 22nd June 2016, 12:58 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd June 2016, 2:03 pm
European and British flags.
European and British flags.

They are among more than 1,200 British companies to sign a joint letter to the Times today saying business, jobs and investment are stronger in Europe.

Chairmen and chief executives of 51 FTSE 100 companies have put their names to the letter, which says: “Businesses and their employees benefit massively from being able to trade inside the world’s largest single market.”

It goes on to say that a ‘Leave’ vote would mean “uncertainty for our firms, less trade with Europe and fewer jobs” and could cause an “economic shock” that would hurt British businesses: “We own and run more than 1,200 businesses, from micro companies to the FTSE 100, employing more than 1.75 million people.

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“We know our firms are stronger in Europe. Our reasons are straightforward: businesses and their employees benefit massively from being able to trade inside the world’s largest single market without barriers.

“We know that Britain leaving the EU would mean having to re-establish terms of trade from scratch with our home market of 500 million consumers. That wouldn’t just hurt exporters but the hundreds of thousands of small and medium firms who do business with them.

“Even those that want Britain to leave say that, in the short term, Brexit would lead to economic uncertainty and would put jobs at risk. Smaller businesses and the people they employ are particularly vulnerable to any economic shock which could follow a vote to leave the EU.” ‘Leave’ campaigners say British business would be stronger outside the EU.

Boris Johnson said it was “time to break away from the failing and dysfunctional EU system” and told activists in Maldon, Essex: “I do think that we are on the verge, possibly, of an extraordinary event in the history of our country and indeed in the whole of Europe.

“It’s all going to be about getting our supporters out to vote and if we do it I really think tomorrow can be independence day.”

Criss-crossing the country by plane, Mr Johnson signed autographs and posed for selfies with supporters in a number of locations.

The BBC reported that sugar giant Tate & Lyle had told employees that leaving the EU would benefit the business and protect their jobs.

The Leave campaign highlighted comments from Markus Kleber, head of the BDI - or federation of German industries - who urged the EU to agree a free trade deal with the UK after Brexit, warning it would “very, very foolish” to attempt to impose tariffs on the departing former member.