Keep UK in EU, argues new campaign group

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Britain Stronger in Europe group was launched today
The Britain Stronger in Europe group was launched today

Related tags: Eu membership, United kingdom

Britain will be better off within the EU, a new cross-party campaign group launched today, led by the chairman of online grocery business Ocado and former chief executive of Marks & Spencer Stuart Rose will argue.  

The Britain Stronger in Europe group launched today (October 12) plans to counter the eurosceptics’ plea to quit the EU with claims that British business would be disadvantaged by leaving the union.

Quitting the EU is “not worth the risk” ​and Britain’s exit would be “a leap into the unknown”, ​said Rose.

“The choice in the coming referendum​ [on Britain’s EU membership] is between remaining stronger, safer and better off inside Europe or taking a leap into the unknown, risking our prosperity, threatening our safety and diminishing our influence in the world,”​ said the Conservative peer, who was knighted in 2008 for services to the retail industry.

Every Briton is up to £450 a year better off thanks to EU membership, he is expected to claim.

‘Manufacturers want to be part of a strong … competitive EU’

Many food and drink manufacturing leaders appear to agree with him. Food and Drink Federation (FDF) boss Ian Wright told FoodManufacture.co.uk in May: “UK food and drink manufacturers want to be part of a strong outward facing, competitive EU​ that leads through innovation, supported by science and evidence-based policy making.”

But the EU must “break down barriers to trade and deliver food security for its citizens, as well as shared significant and sustainable growth”,​ he added.

Food and non alcoholic drink exports to Europe fell by 7.5% in the first six months of this year but were still worth £4.3bn, according to the Food & Drink Exporters Association. The EU remained by far the most important destination for exports, which fell by 5.3% to £6bn in the first half.

Manufacturers’ organisation EEF judged quitting the EU to be “the biggest single threat”​ facing manufacturers.

‘Any drift or dithering’

“Any drift or dithering on this issue will mean uncertainty for British businesses, which would be very unhelpful for the long-term prospects of the economy,”​ said EEF boss Terry Scuoler in May.

Meanwhile, two rival groups have been launched to persuade British voters of the benefits of leaving the EU.

Stuart Rose

“The choice in the coming referendum​ is between remaining stronger, safer and better off inside Europe or taking a leap into the unknown, rising our prosperity, threatening our safety and diminishing our influence in the world.”

The cross party group Vote Leave launched its campaign on Friday (October 9).

Rival group Leave.EU is backed by the United Kingdom Independence Party.

Both groups are vying for recognition by the Electoral Commission, in a bid to win campaign funds of £7M, broadcasting rights and a free mail distribution to all British households.

Prime minister David Cameron has pledged to hold a referendum on EU membership by the end of 2017. He has already begun lobbying counterparts – including German chancellor Angela Merkel – in a bid to win EU policy changes that “will keep the United Kingdom in a reformed EU”,​ he said.

Which group is campaigning for what

To retain EU membership

To quit EU membership

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