Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Business Leaders Call for Vote to Remain in the EU; EUROPE

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Business Leaders Call for Vote to Remain in the EU; EUROPE

Article excerpt

Byline: GRAEME WHITFIELD graeme.whitfielde@ncjmedia.co.uk

AGROUP of more than 50 business leaders from around the North East have signed an open letter calling for Britain to stay in the European Union The group, which contains eight people who have received honours for their commitment to the region's business community, says that "EU membership has been an important driver of economic development in the North East."

Together the signatories employ thousands of people in the region and represent a range of industries in all geographical areas of the region.

Their letter says: "Businesses in the North East need unrestricted access to the European market of 500m people in order to continue to grow, invest and create jobs.

"We support the UK remaining a member of the European Union, and add our voice to the major unions, business organisations, manufacturers, local government leaders, major party leaders and our international allies and friends sharing this common desire.

"We recognise the EU is not perfect. However, we also recognise that the UK has benefitted enormously since the joining in 1975, making the terrible '70s a distant past, and helping in no small measure to make the UK one of the strongest economies in the world.

"We believe that leaving the EU would deter investment, threaten jobs and put the North East economy at risk."

Among those signging the letter is Geoff Ford of South Shields' Ford Engineering Group, Mike Matthews from North East Business of the Year Nifco and Prof Roy Sandbach, chair of the innovation board at the North East LEP.

Another signatory iss Matt Boyle, chief executive of Gateshead technology firm Sevcon, who said: "For a company like Sevcon, which is strongly export driven, the EU provides the existing regulatory and trading framework to support our growth and development, unfettered by concerns over new trading arrangements. …

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