Belfast Telegraph

Microsoft throws its weight behind UK remaining in Europe

By Emma Clark

Microsoft is the latest business to come out in support of the UK remaining in the EU.

The tech giant told staff that the UK's membership in the union make it one of "the most attractive places in Europe" to make investments.

In a letter to employees on Tuesday, UK chief executive Michel Van der Bel said: "We appreciate and respect that there are a range of reasons that motivate people on both sides of the debate, but as a business that is very committed to this country, our view is that the UK should remain in the EU."

He added: "Historically, the UK being part of the EU has been one of several important criteria that make it one of the most attractive places in Europe for the range of investments we have made.

"At key moments in our international growth we have specifically chosen to invest in our capabilities here in the UK. Most recently, we announced that we would start offering cloud services this year from new UK-based data centres. And as we've grown, so too have the UK technology businesses we work with.

"For us, the UK's membership of a wider EU was also a key reason why we chose to invest in our first overseas R&D laboratory in Cambridge.

"Why? Because we knew that the world-leading scientists we wanted to attract would want and need to work directly alongside other great researchers from across the region."

He said that flexibility attracts skilled workers and investment.

Microsoft opened its first international office in the UK in 1982 and now employs more than 5,000 people and works in partnership with around 25,000 British businesses.

Meanwhile, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has urged all businesses to tell their staff about where they stand in the EU referendum.

Director general Carolyn Fairbairn insisted it was "not about telling people how to vote" but to provide staff with information.

She said: "Responsible business leaders should give their employees the choice to hear what impact a Brexit would have on company growth, their jobs and their local community.

"This is not about telling people how to vote, but having calm, evidence-based conversations, whichever camp the business is in, or if they are neutral."

Ms Fairbairn has previously insisted that the majority of businesses wanted a Remain vote. On Monday, the CBI warned that Brexit uncertainty is now having a "tangible impact" on the spending plans of some firms.

Belfast Telegraph