Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Leaving the EU Single Market Would Be a Disaster for London; If Britain Votes to Leave the European Union We Must Expect Job Losses, Lower Wages and a Shrinking Economy

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Leaving the EU Single Market Would Be a Disaster for London; If Britain Votes to Leave the European Union We Must Expect Job Losses, Lower Wages and a Shrinking Economy

Article excerpt

Byline: Carolyn Fairbairn

SOMETIMES something happens that stops us all in our tracks. The shocking news about Jo Cox MP has done just that. We will need time to question, to reflect and to understand. And yet somehow, in the midst of this, we will also need to take a vital decision about our country's future. It's clear this vote really matters.

Should we stay or should we go? Stay with membership of the EU, with full access to its single market of 500 million people, where 40 years of cooperation has helped make us a more prosperous, outward-looking nation? Or throw in our chips and go -- stepping into an unknown that may bring some benefits over the long-term but will certainly deliver a serious economic shock here over the next decade at least.

It's quite clear where my organisation -- and most businesses -- stand on this. The CBI speaks for 190,000 companies of all sizes across the UK and in every sector. From car manufacturers and bakers to farmers and tech firms. Together, they employ seven million people -- one in every three privatesector employees. And they resoundingly want to stay in the EU. Not every company, it's true -- a small minority hold a different view. But the vast majority want to stay in. And it's not just CBI members -- every survey of businesses across the UK shows a majority think it is better for their firm and the prosperity of the UK to remain in the EU.

London is a leading light in many industries -- including financial and professional services, financial technology and the creative sectors -- which have been greatly enhanced by being inside the EU. From the strength of the capital's professional services sector to our ability to adapt to an everchanging digital landscape, London is an international trailblazer. Keeping the city ahead of global competitors will be a top priority for the capital's businesses in the coming years.

I'm convinced that the best way of achieving this lies in two words: single market. The EU has 500 million potential customers in 28 countries, with one set of rules -- the largest free trade zone in the world. London is a global city with a magnetic force, attracting the brightest and the best from all over the world -- and, crucially, is underpinned by EU membership. Of the capital's firms surveyed 95 per cent cite access to the EU single market as London's greatest strength.

Our place within the union makes us more attractive to international investors from around the world. It means we have access to 53 other trade deals with countries on favourable terms, which would take several years to renegotiate if we left.

And there are landmark opportunities to make the EU single market even better, including the soon-to-belaunched digital single market. When it comes to e-commerce the UK is the best in the world. …

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