Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 10°C

ESTD 1874 Search

The pigs are coming. Find out more about

Pigs Gone Wild

here.

East Anglia business leaders launch campaign in Norwich for Britain to leave the EU

09:51 12 January 2016

David Cameron has insisted a British exit from the EU is not "the right answer". Picture PA

David Cameron has insisted a British exit from the EU is not "the right answer". Picture PA

Regional business leaders will launch a campaign today for Britain to leave the European Union in a sign that the debate over the nation’s relationship with Europe was ramping up across the east.

Jerome Mayhew, Go ApeJerome Mayhew, Go Ape

More than 50 business leaders in the East of England have backed Business for Britain’s (BfB) calls for far-reaching reforms of Britain’s relationship with the EU, including its reasons why businesses could “thrive” outside the European Union.

Its message will be underscored during a meeting at the Assembly Rooms in Norwich, where business chiefs will gather for a presentation and a behind-closed-doors meeting to help fuel the debate ahead of Britain’s referendum on EU membership.

The campaign – designed to give small-and-medium-sized businesses and their staff a voice – centres around claims that the UK government has given too much control of the economy to EU politicians.

According to the lobbying group, which has backed the Vote Leave campaign, EU regulation is stymieing the growth of SMEs by making it too difficult to create jobs. It has also questioned whether East Anglian businesses get a sufficient return on investment from the £1.97bn the region pays out to Europe each year.

Stuart Rose is leadig the drive for Britain to stay in the EU. Photo: PAStuart Rose is leadig the drive for Britain to stay in the EU. Photo: PA

It believes this money would be better spent within the region, funding projects that boost transport infrastructure and high-speed broadband which could help companies trade overseas.

Stronger In Europe – the pro-EU lobby group lead by the former chairman of Marks and Spencers Stuart Rose – claims the British economy will have more opportunities to grow if it remains within the EU. It also believes Britain could lose diplomatic influence and have a weaker defence strategy if the British people vote for Brexit.

It comes as research, commissioned by Business for Britain and carried out by YouGov, revealed that 27pc of firms think that the EU is making it harder for their business to employ people, with 57pc saying that being a member of the EU made no difference.

Meanwhile, 32pc of firms think that EU regulation hinders their business and 49pc want the UK to trade and cooperate with Europe without giving away permanent control over the economy to politicians they cannot vote out, according to the survey of 144 SMEs in the East of England.
John May, regional chairman of BfB East of England, who has been an independent director on the boards of more than 50 companies, said big business with offices across Europe may wish to stay in the EU, but an unreformed relationship with Europe may not be in the interest of SMEs which may not even export to Europe.

“It goes back to this issue that we do send this money to the EU and we do not get back what we spend. How that money is spent is decided by the EU and not by the UK, or regional and national policy. It is about us regaining control over how that money is spent.”

He said that while people with business backgrounds often say they want more information before they make a decision about Britain’s future in the EU, many would not want Britain to join the EU now if it was outside the organisation.

“We seem to be having a debate on reforming an organisation we don’t wish to join,” he added.

David Cameron defended his plans yesterday to renegotiate ties with Brussels, insisting it would be a “great prize” for the UK to remain in a reformed European Union.

He stressed his government was “not neutral” about the outcome it desired and all members of the Cabinet were signed up to the plan.

But he acknowledged that some members of his team had “long-standing views” about Europe and would be allowed to campaign in a “personal capacity” for a British exit.

The UK’s demands are to be discussed in crunch talks involving the EU’s leaders at a summit in Brussels next month.

The in-out referendum has been promised by the end of 2017.

Luke Morris, a partner at Norwich-based chartered accountants Larking Gowen, who is campaigning with BfB on a personal capacity, said the cost of the EU has made many East Anglian businesses unsure about Britain’s future within Europe.

He said: “One of the reasons the Eastern region is a little more sceptical than the rest of the country is because we have this family business culture, which is in the DNA of business dating back to its agricultural heritage. There is this idea of prudence and protecting wealth from one generation to the next. We have an economy in the east where people are in it for the long term.

“For them there is a cost argument and what we could do with that money [if Britain was not part of Europe].”

• Business leaders backing Brexit

The chairman of Aspall cider and the managing director of outdoor adventure business Go Ape have thrown their weight behind the campaign for Britain to leave the EU.

While campaigning in personal capacity, Barry Chevallier Guild of Suffolk-based Aspall and Jerome Mayhew of Go Ape! near Bury St Edmunds are two high-profile business leaders to have backed Business for Britain in its quest for a renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with Europe.

Other regional business chiefs on the list include: John Biggin of TruckEast and Greg Ryan of Sowerby’s Wealth Management.

Business for Britain is led by chief executive Matthew Elliott and co-chairmen Alan Halsall, chairman of Silvercross Holdings, and John Mills the founder of JML.

• Campaign to stay in

The former chairman of Marks & Spencers Stuart Rose is spearheading a group of influential business leaders who want Britain to remain in the European Union.

Lord Rose, who lives in Suffolk, unveiled Stronger in Europe’s campaign message last October, claiming that Britain would have a stronger economy, greater influence on the international stage and safer borders if it remained within the EU.

High-profiles business leaders backing the ‘in vote’ include Richard Reed, the founder of Innocent Drinks; Karren Brady, West Ham Football Club vice chairman and judge of BBC One reality show The Apprentice; and Carolyn McCall, the chief executive of easyJet.

The organisation said that Britain gets £26.5bn of investment from Europe each year, and has pointed to statistics from the Confederation of British Industry – that three million jobs in Britain are linked to trade with the rest of Europe – as a reason to stay in the EU.

14 comments

  • I'm a business owner, and if the UK leave the EU it will damage this country's manufacturing industries significantly. 'Platform Manufacturing' is quickly establishing itself as the future of production, and while this country is in a great position to benefit from the latest technology, it won't be if we leave. tariff rate arbitrage will kick in and our ability to platform will be greatly hampered by those ROO clauses. It's true it may not affect John May and his little decking business, but our ability to attract investment will be negatively impacted while industries continue to take up Platform Manufacturing.

    Report this comment

    jennifer.buckingham

    Friday, January 15, 2016

  • The streamed debate between the leader of the Welsh Labour Party and Farage on Europe this week was extremely informative. A poll of the representative press at that event gave Farage 70% of the vote in a whitewash of Remain campaign - AND THAT WAS IN WALES. Like I said the Remain campaign is based purely on fear (why risk change) but the benefits of LEAVING ARE SIGNIFICANT AND IMPORTANT.

    Report this comment

    DWW25

    Thursday, January 14, 2016

  • The LEAVE campaigners are the only ones that have promoted the REAL AND SIGNIFICANT POSITIVES for their case - THAT'S WHY I'M VOTING LEAVE.

    Report this comment

    DWW25

    Thursday, January 14, 2016

  • Who actually believes that the UK can have a 'greater and more significant role in Europe'? Who is going to offer that to us, the Chancellor of Germany or the President of France? I doubt very much if they would. For most Britons 'a greater and more significant role in Europe' is another way of saying it will cost us more, on top of what we are already paying through our earnings and taxes.

    Report this comment

    Bruce87

    Wednesday, January 13, 2016

  • Tend to agree with Marcus - those that want to leave tend to be 'local' in outlook, think that removing the 'common' EU legislation won't have to be immediately replaced by similar if not identical UK legislation and hope beyond hope that the world will return to the 1950's and we can still enjoy all the advantages of the EU (trade, travel) with none of the disadvantages. Just a huge gamble which even in the most optimistic scenarios is unlikely to make us any better off but with a huge risk of significant disruption and downturn. The phrase little Englander's seems most apt as opposed to a greater more significant role in Europe.

    Report this comment

    Normal4Norfolk

    Wednesday, January 13, 2016

  • I think the big question is what happens if the UK votes out but the bigger percentage of people in Scotland, Wales and northern Ireland want to stay in, how will that pan out, will it then be another referendum on whether or not to stay in the united kingdom, England as such has no national identity, its become just another country, and whether it decides to stay or leave matters very little to the rest of Europe, Europe as a whole is now starting to stabilise whereas the UK is rapidly heading towards another downturn, boom and bust only suits a very small percentage of the population but the Brits seem to love it and learn nothing.

    Report this comment

    trev57

    Wednesday, January 13, 2016

  • I for one do not wish to see a standardised Europe . Europe is about individual heritage , language culture and all the rest . Why should we not still be able to trade without the need for political and financial integration? As I see matters , the only way for the union to succeed would be through total integration .That would surely dumb down the true diversity of Europe which is precisely what makes it so special.

    Report this comment

    SHOOK

    Tuesday, January 12, 2016

  • Still no convincing argument to stay in! Quoting an extreme opposite is quite irrelevant. Who has suggested the UK should only be in it for themselves? Or severing all ties either? The EU is a corrupt (still no audited accounts after 20 years) and undemocratic organisation and there is no need for us to be tied in and lose our sovereignty. The same people who want us to stay said we were doomed if we did not join the Euro - what a massive mistake that would have been!

    Report this comment

    andy

    Tuesday, January 12, 2016

  • I think most people want to see not just Europe but a world all happily living and trading together, its not going to happen tomorrow or next year but some time in the future I for one hope it does, short term we all know its going to hurt a bit for the bigger countries in Europe not just the UK, but long-term it must work, all this what's in it for us bit must stop and we should start with what's in it for everyone, I have traveled into Spain, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg and Switzerland, and apart from Switzerland used Euros in all of them, no passport checks and felt perfectly safe wherever I went, I cannot understand the English what's in it for us attitude, why do people think that if the UK leaves the EU it will end up like Norway because it won't, why do they think that all the money that goes to the EU will be spent on the UK's infrastructure to the benefit of everyone because it won't, it seems to me that a small percentage of people are misleading the general population purely for their own ends, they would love to go back to the days of no banking controls, no minimum wage, probably then moving towards more privately controlled schools, hospitals, police and fire service, back to the days of if you can't pay you can't have it. I for one would vote to stay in, it will take time but it will all work out in the end given time, after all the french, Germans, Dutch, Belgians, Spanish, italians and the rest of them, moan just as much about the EU as the Brits do.

    Report this comment

    trev57

    Tuesday, January 12, 2016

  • I want a united Europe , free of wars, stronger together, a Europe where the rights of man are at the forefront of democracy , not an individual state where a government wants to set its own human rights bill to the detriment of an individuals freedom . Though i am opposed to mass migration without an adequate infrastrucure to deal with the numbers arriving .

    Report this comment

    cal

    Tuesday, January 12, 2016

  • Geography & history put us in Europe. We have deep cultural bonds too. We are fortunate in having strong relationships both across the Channel and across the Atlantic, and we gain nothing by severing either bond. Here's another Anglian business that certainly isn't in favour of leaving.

    Report this comment

    Alex Barrett

    Tuesday, January 12, 2016

  • Why is it some people throw abuse instead of argue their case? Is it because they don't have a good case?

    Report this comment

    andy

    Tuesday, January 12, 2016

  • Marcus your 3 lines would be better spent explaining your reasons why your business and possibly some other businesses would benefit from staying in Europe, rather than a spiteful personal attack on anyone who disgarees with you.

    Report this comment

    Bruce87

    Tuesday, January 12, 2016

  • Business Leaders or deluded ukip voters that run a mom and pop operation wnat to leave the EU. I count myself an East Anglia based business leader and I certainly am not going to shoot my self in the foot supporting #brexit. How dare these idiots suggest they represent all business leaders here?

    Report this comment

    Marcus Lasance

    Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

An artist's impression of what St James’ Business and Logistics Park will look like.

More than 600 jobs could be created if a major £72m business park planned for the outskirts of Ipswich gets the go-ahead.

File photo dated 06/10/11 of a trainee bricklayer. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivers his Autumn Statement and Spending Review in the House of Commons today. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday November 25, 2015. See PA BUDGET stories. Photo credit should read: Ian Nicholson/PA Wire

Bricklayers are being paid up to £25 an hour as building firms struggle to recruit skilled workers, a new report has revealed.

Bids for Tata Steels UK business are being finalised.

Bids for Tata Steel’s UK business are being finalised ahead of a crucial week for the crisis-hit industry and the job prospects of thousands of workers.

Paul Evans, who has set up Boosty, an Ipswich-based start-up which aims to give people a faster and more reliable broadband service.

Much of northern Ipswich still receives speeds slower than 10 megabits per second, the speed that Ofcom has now ruled must be the minimum speed for broadband services across the UK, says Paul Evans:

Profits after tax at Ryanair are up 43%.

Ryanair said it plans to cut fares by 7% this year as annual profits at the budget airline soared by almost half.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24