It’s not only Europe’s CEOs who are considering the pros and cons of Britain staying within the EU, but are signalling the possibility of complications after a Brexit vote.
Airline Qantas’ head, Alan Joyce and the richest man in China, billionaire Wang Jianlin, have both indicated a desire for Brits to vote to remain in the EU.
Wang, owner of the firm which is backing the One Nine Elms development in Battersea, believes strongly that Chinese businesses may move elsewhere. In a national newspaper, he stated that a separation from the EU would be unwise for the UK, and that it would create many more problems for foreign investments.
Joyce is of the same view, making it clear that staying in the EU would be far better for the UK economy. He was very much of the opinion that free trade was positive economically for both the EU and for the United Kingdom.
Fellow airline CEOs, Carolyn McCall (Easyjet) and Michael O’Leary (Ryanair) agree with him, the latter predicting that a Brexit may see the return of air travel limited to the preserve of the rich.
Concerned voices are also evident in recent surveys of UK and EU businesses, with a widely held view that an exit vote would have a less than positive effect. Just 2 per cent suggest the opposite. Surveys showed further concerns over investment and exports, with 50 per cent indicating that their businesses are already being affected by the mere presence of the Brexit debate.
There were also recent concerns about a Brexit vote by G20 finance ministers who described a parting from the EU as a major risk factor in the context of a global recession. Similarly, small business owners surveyed recently have expressed similar worries, with around two-thirds of them keen to stay in the EU. The sentiment appears to be that a departure would cause more damage to the growth of their businesses.
One of the partners of accountancy firm, Moore Stephens, Mark Lamb, made the point that the opportunity for growth in small businesses would be greatly reduced if EU access was stopped and that a Brexit would result in tariff rises and wider trade limitations.
However, others would wholeheartedly disagree, with the chance of a reduction in taxes for business with a Brexit result and the fact that they consider EU trade laws to be a bureaucratic nightmare. Iceland was cited as an example of a country which enjoys the benefits of the continent but without Brussels’ “dictatorial” ways.
Individuals such as the former chancellor Norman Lamont and CMC Markets founder, Peter Cruddas, have backed the launching of an exit group specifically for workers in the financial sector. FTI Consulting managing director, Alex Deane indicated that traders are well and truly divided on the matter.
Many feel that we would begin to flourish again as a nation, with buoyant performance in the global market rather than as a slave to a slow moving EU economy. Truth be told, no-one is sitting on the fence and all are concerned about the future of our country’s jobs, businesses and economy.
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