A group of 19 key business leaders including Sir Richard Branson and the current CBI President have today argued the economic case for retaining UK EU membership in a letter to a national newspaper.
Their call for the UK to remain an active and engaged member of the EU has been supported by Welsh Labour MEP, DEREK VAUGHAN, who agrees that both the political and economic evidence for the UK to stay in the EU is overwhelming.
Speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Mr Vaughan said:
"I am pleased to see the business community uniting to send a clear message that the benefits to the UK through being in the EU far outweighs the costs and that the focus now should be on creating more sustainable jobs and growth rather than putting petty party politics before the future of our economy.
As the letter points out, UK membership of the EU brings access to the world’s largest trading bloc of half a billion people, and an estimated income gain to the UK of between £1,200 to £3,500 per household. Over 150,000 jobs in Wales alone rely on our close trading relationship with the rest of Europe.
If, as some backbench Tories and UKIP want, we were to withdraw from the EU then we would also lose out on the benefits of being part of 37 Free Trade Agreements with other parts of the world and fail to be able to participate in the talks for a similar arrangement with the US that could bring as much as £10bn into the UK. To renegotiate all of those would not only be immensely time consuming but more likely to result in the UK having to settle for less favourable terms than if we remained in the EU.
Whilst elements of the EU are not perfect and in need of hard-headed reform, the case put forward by these business leaders is a powerful, realistic one. Now is the time to embrace opportunities for change in the national interest rather than continuing to sleepwalk towards the exit door."