Belfast Telegraph

Manufacturers urged to sign warning letter on job losses in event of Brexit

Manufacturers are urged to throw their weight behind the UK's membership of the EU by signing an open letter warning of job losses in the event of Brexit.

Firms across the UK are being asked by manufacturers organisation EEF to be signatories to the memo, a copy of which has been seen by the Press Association.

The letter, penned by EEF chief executive Terry Scuoler, reads: "Many manufacturers fear Britain would be economically weaker if there is a vote to leave the EU.

"We could face years of uncertainty and - as most economic assessments from the IMF to the Treasury point out - we would certainly lose jobs and contracts overseas."

EEF is asking SME members of the organisation to sign the letter.

In February, an EEF survey showed that 61% of its members want the UK to remain in the EU, while just 5% support Brexit.

Nissan, which manufactures cars in Sunderland, has already voiced its support for remaining in the EU, joining the likes of Toyota and Whitbread.

The letter continues: "We are manufacturers who export - or are involved in supply chains which operate - across the EU. We generate wealth, create high-quality jobs, and export goods to Europe and across the world.

"Our connection to the vast market that is the EU has helped us to prosper and grow and it remains critical to our future plans to expand."

In April, hundreds of business leaders in the tech sector also wrote an open letter warning that Brexit would be "hugely damaging".

It followed a similar letter, signed by the likes of WPP's Sir Martin Sorrell and BT chairman Sir Mike Rake, backing Britain to remain a member of the EU.

On the other side of the argument, ex-HSBC boss Michael Geoghegan and CMC Markets founder Peter Cruddas were among 110 signatories to a letter warning that Brussels poses a threat to Britain's financial services industry.

Mr Scuoler's letter concludes: "There are many benefits of EU membership. It makes it easier for companies to start exporting, with one set of rules and with a market on our doorstep of more than 500 million consumers.

"Membership attracts substantial foreign investment and the EU's powerful position as a vast trading bloc also acts as a springboard for global commerce.

"Britain is a key player in Europe, often acting as a moderating influence in Brussels.

"That works in our favour, and we think it is also good for the EU. It is important for business that the UK continues to hold such an influential position at the heart of Europe.

"We hope that through strong and effective leadership Britain can help drive further reform in Europe, continuing to help us thrive and grow."