Business leaders call for Britain to stay in EU

February 24 04:47 2016

The bosses of some of Britain’s biggest companies on Tuesday warned that an exit from the European Union could threaten jobs and put the economy at risk. Around 200 individuals, including the CEOs of dozens of FTSE 100-listed companies, called for the U.K. to remain in the 28-nation bloc, in a letter published in Britain’s The Times newspaper. The letter bolsters Prime Minister David Cameron’s campaign for Britain to remain in the alliance. A referendum on whether the U.K should stay or go will take place on June 23.635636572610664700-EPA-FILE-GERMANY-ECONOMY-EUROPEAN-CENTRAL-BANK-RATES

The signatories include bosses from oil giant BP, aircraft manufacturer Airbus UK, Heathrow Airport and supermarket chain Asda, which is owned by U.S. giant Walmart. The firms employ hundreds of thousands of people, the signatories said. “Business needs unrestricted access to the European market of 500 million people in order to continue to grow, invest and create jobs,” the letter said. “We believe that leaving the EU would deter investment, threaten jobs and put the economy at risk. Britain will be stronger, safer and better off remaining a member of the EU.” However, the bosses of two-thirds of Britain’s 100 biggest companies did not sign the letter, including supermarket giants Tesco and Sainsbury’s and financial services firm Barclays. Both supermarkets said in statements that the referendum was a matter for the British people.

The pound fell to its lowest level against the dollar in nearly seven years before recovering on Monday after London’s influential Mayor Boris Johnson said he would oppose the government and campaign for the U.K. to exit the EU – a so-called “Brexit.”  On Tuesday, the pound was down 0.3% at $1.4107. Six of Cameron’s 23 cabinet members have said they oppose British membership in the EU and will campaign to leave the group.

A study by the Economist Intelligence Unit published last week said that four out of five business leaders it surveyed in Britain and Germany were against a Brexit. It said 79% of bosses in the U.K. who responded wanted the country to stay in the EU. In Germany, the figure was 83%. They expressed concerns about issues including negative effects for their economic sectors, a decrease in investments and a negative impact on sales.

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