London First comment on EU referendum proposalJanuary 23, 2013
Commenting on today’s announcement of a possible referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, London First’s chief executive, Baroness Jo Valentine, said:
“For an international business considering where to make long-term investments, such as opening factories or locating subsidiaries, financial stability and political certainty are paramount.
“The announcement that a referendum on our membership of the EU may be held in a few years’ time, dependent on the result of the next General Election, risks condemning the UK economy to several years of further uncertainty.
“Could a more discouraging signal be sent, especially to potential investors from outside the Union? Around one in seven businesses in London are foreign-owned. Such businesses frequently choose the UK as their European base because of the combination of historical factors – such as language and access to financial markets – and our proximity to major European markets.
“Even the prospect that the UK may find itself excluded from these European markets will be enough to deter potential investors, who will instead build their factories and create their jobs in France, Germany or elsewhere.
“Meanwhile, welcome though it would be if there were a reduction in the burden on business, British companies will also think again about investing for the long-term while there is doubt over our relationship with our largest export market.
“There is much wrong with the workings of the EU and I hope that the government succeeds in addressing this. But, at this stage, introducing the uncertainty of a referendum is not helpful.”
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