Business for New Europe says vote to quit could force some companies based in Britain to leave UK and delay investment due to uncertainty
By Sean Farrell
A business group backed by the bosses of some of Britain’s biggest companies has thrown its weight behind Tony Blair’s warning about the effects of a referendumon the UK’s membership of the European Union.
Business for New Europe (BNE) said a vote to quit the EU could force some companies that use Britain as a European base to leave the UK. The group warned that businesses will hold back on investment in Britain because of the uncertainty created by the prospect of the referendum.
Business leaders on BNE’s advisory council include Sir Michael Rake, the chairman of BT, Chris Gibson-Smith, the chairman of the London Stock Exchange, and Sir Philip Hampton, the chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland. BNE is non-partisan and campaigns for Britain to stay in a less bureaucratic EU.
Blair said in a speech on Tuesday that the prospect of Britain leaving the EU would cast a “pall of unpredictability” over the economy, threatening jobs and investment. He warned that a vote to quit the EU would cause the worst instability and anxiety for business since the second world war.
David Cameron has promised to call a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU by 2017 if the Conservatives form a government after next month’s election. He has pledged to renegotiate the terms of the UK’s membership before the referendum.
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