Top UK firms want Britain to stay in EU | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 23.02.2016
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Top UK firms want Britain to stay in EU

The heads of leading companies in the UK have signed an open letter saying they're in favor of Britain staying in the EU. They argued that a Brexit would limit market access and put the domestic economy at risk.

The open letter published in "The Times" on Tuesday was signed by the heads of roughly a third of the companies listed in the FTSE-100 index of Britain's biggest stock market firms.

"The businesses we lead represent every sector and region of the United Kingdom; together we employ more than a million people across the country," the letter said.

As the British referendum on whether the country should stay in a reformed EU or not draws nearer, the companies in question wanted to send out a strong signal that the UK would be better off within the 28-nation bloc.

"Business needs unrestricted access to the European market of 500 million people in order to continue to grow, invest and create jobs," the document said. "We believe that leaving the EU would deter investment and threaten jobs; it would put the economy at risk."

Mixed picture

"The Guardian" reported that there were "some notable absentees from the list, including supermarket chains Tesco and Sainsbury's." The two firms indicated they would not join any anti-Brexit or pro-Brexit campaigns, adding that the choice of whether to stay in the EU was one for the British people.

"Whatever the decision is, our focus will continue to be on serving customers," Tesco said in a statement. The supermarket chain and others had concluded that backing a vote to stay in the EU could potentially deter customers, "The Guardian" argued.

Also missing from the open letter are two of Britain's major banks, Lloyds and Barclays, which consider any involvement in this campaign to be against company policy.

hg/bea (Reuters, dpa)

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