8 reasons the UK should NOT leave the EU

We asked business leaders what they thought – it was pretty unanimous

We’ve been promised a referendum, and that’s what we’ll get, but these businesses already know what they think is best for the UK’s relationship with the EU.

1. We’d find it hard to run our overseas operations

CEO Thomas Villeneuve from the social platform for flatsharing, Weroom, said: “Britain leaving the EU would be a bad thing for businesses since the UK is key for business development in the EU. Without its inclusion, it would be more difficult to offer a unified service to Weroom’s customers who are moving to and from the UK to flatshare, as European laws wouldn’t apply in the UK.”


2. It would put SMEs at risk

Nigel Beighton, vice president of technology, cloud company Rackspace said: “Business leaders need to think about how they are going to house their data in foreign countries. Within the EU, differences in legislation and uncertainty can form imposing barriers; outside of the EU, these are exacerbated. We should be looking at measures to integrate and normalise processes, rather than obfuscate as a British exit from the union almost certainly would. SMEs have the most at stake because they are least able to afford legal consultation.”


3. It will be harder to get the right talent

Philip Rooke, CEO of personalised t-shirt company Spreadshirt, said: “As the CEO of German-headquartered, but international, company I see the advantages of the EU for business relations and our extended team across Europe. We rely on people being able to move for work and definitely see the advantages of this; we have over 20 nationalities in our business and sell all over the world. So we are the positive side of immigration and both our business and host country, Germany, benefit from it.  If the UK exits it will not only be harder to help the UK sellers on our platform to expand internationally and make money overseas, but for UK companies in general it will be very tough to do business in Europe.”


4. It’s better to reform

Frances Dickens, CEO of media barter specialists Astus Group, said: “We have to face the facts that the UK is not the economic superpower we once were and EU membership strengthens our hand in terms of trade agreements with the rest of the world as well as providing access to a huge market of customers, investment and business opportunities. However the terms of our  EU membership need radical revision, the EU budget is too big, the UK requires greater control over employment laws and as the Business for Britain campaign argues, we should be pushing to exempt the 95% of companies that don’t export to Europe from burdensome EU regulation. When it comes to negotiating the UK’s future in the EU, David Cameron faces a very tough challenge – UK businesses cannot afford for him to fail.”


5. It would cause huge economic upheaval for the world

Peter Burgess, director at recruitment company Retail Human Resources, said: “An exit would only be bad news for the UK and it will also cause massive economic upheaval in Europe and around the world; and we will be held responsible. Of course we will get a trade agreement but such an agreement will still require us to pay in. We will be in the same place we are in now but without a say on how the rules are made.  There is very little up-side but potentially a devastating down side.”


6. Global companies would move away

Semyon Dovzhik, managing director of start-up Company Address, said: “Leaving the EU could have a devastating effect on the UK economy. The last thing Britain needs is to lose London’s status as a financial capital of Europe. It would be very difficult for us if global companies and banks moved their headquarters out on the country as a result of us leaving the EU. London does need to rearrange its relationship with EU, updating many of old time treaties and conventions, but leaving EU would be a disaster.”


7. It could break apart companies with international teams

Co-founders of Hassle.com, Alex Depledge and Jules Coleman, said: “A British exit from the EU would end the principle of free movement of workers within Europe. Much of the tech industry’s growth is a result of talented developers from across Europe not only filling in Britain’s skills gap, but passing on knowledge to local developers and helping the industry thrive. This talent pool would be put at risk with EU employees now living in Britain becoming subject to new visa and legal requirements. For example, within our company, we have 13 nationalities working together, these are largely people who have relocated to London from all corners of Europe. Employers should therefore be asking themselves what would happen to those teams if the UK steps outside the EU.”


8. It would be a nightmare for businesses to manage

Philippe Gelis, CEO of peer-to-peer trading platform Kantox, said: “From a business perspective, it will be a complete nightmare to manage. Being part of Europe is advantageous on a business basis. For me there is no real logic behind the Brexit. The best situation is to go on the same way.”


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Readers' comments (8)

  • Michael Smith

    It's about time David Cameron started campaigning very hard for Britain to stay in the EU. If we somehow sleepwalk into Brexit he will be held responsible for the greatest economic disaster of the last 100 years.

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  • It makes you wonder how we ever managed to survive as a country before we joined. How on earth do Switzerland and Norway ( two highy properous nations) manage it?

    No mention of the net contributions of approx £60 MILLION POUNDS A DAY that we pay to an organisation that makes FIFA look respectable.
    It is very worrying that the public might be taken in by this sort of propaganda pedled by big business and vested interest

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  • Many ot of these comments are from large companies who enjoy the regulations that prevent smaller comapnaies and start-ups from competing with them. And there is no reason why UK should be obliged to 'pay-in' to the EU to get free trade agreements, as the balance is more favourable to them than to us. And we would be better negotiating trade agreements with emerging markets, many of them in the Commonwealth, rather than through and with the sclerotic EU

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  • Michael Smith

    Without the 'big business' you are so quick to deride, we could not compete on the world stage. They provide jobs for half the population. If we are not part of the EU then the next time Toyota decides to build a new factory it will be in Spain, not the UK.

    It's not 1950 anymore, the Empire days are over. Our trade with the Commonwealth is one fifth of that of Europe and has been on the decline for the last half-century. Anyway, it doesn't have to be either/or, let's do both.

    Our contribution if around 0.5% of GDP of which we get back half in projects in this country. I consider that a small investment when 50% of our trade is with the EU.

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  • Large corporations can afford to deal with the red tape imposed by the EU while small businesses are being swamped by it. The EU contains about 7% of the global population and with a low birth rate. Asia and North and South America have younger populations with greater potential for the UK. Very little business will leave the UK if we leave the EU as conditions here are fundamentally better and we heard the same scare stories when we decided not to join the Euro. As for trade having grown with the EU over the past forty years this is a mirage. The EU forces the UK to cut it ties with the Commonwealth to suit itself and member states like France make sure that this remains the case. The sooner we get out of the EU the better and turn our attention to the rest of the world and establish London as a global centre free of EU red tape. Given that London is on a time zone between East and West it is uniquely well placed to do this.

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  • A lot of these fears about leaving the EU are unfounded, the company I work for trade in the EU as well as Norway. Its actually less hassle doing business with Norway than selling into the EU.

    The old EFTA is what the EU should have been not one great wasteful political mess.

    As one German comedian commented the Brits are already treated preferentially - they are even allowed to have a proper currency....

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  • Of course we could compete on the world stage without being in the EU - Japan does, USA does, Switzerland does etc. Why do we need to have our laws made by the EU to make us a world class power? Not to mention the small matter of £60 million pounds a day (yes, A DAY!) being paid for the privilege of being told that we have to fit into their rules. Do you think that BMW will refuse to sell us cars if we leave? I dont think so - we as a country are the EU's best customer - that will not change - they need us and our £60m per day a whole lot more than we need them. This has nothing to do with the 1950s - the same is true today as it ever was.

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  • It's nice to see that there are still a few imperialist die-hards clinging to the quaint but somewhat outdated idea that anybody in the world gives a toss about Britain any more.

    Hopefully, voters will be clear-headed enough to realise that's really not the case, and that Britain leaving the EU would be the worst economic disaster to befall this country since WWII.

    If not, we'll actually have to experience it.

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