“Generally I try to remain politically neutral,” says James Reed, Chairman of the Reed Group, “because the company contains supporters of a broad range of political parties and so does our customer base. It is also important to me that the brand REED should be politically neutral. However, in this case, which is not party political and is a ‘multi-generational’ decision, I am happy to share my views.
“I believe that Britain is better off remaining in the European Union for the following five reasons:
- Leaving seems to be a big and unnecessary risk. In business when you take a risk, the potential reward should be very much in mind. In this case the upside has not been persuasively described and so to me, simply approaching the question as a businessman, it is a risk that I would rather not take.
- Leaving could do significant damage to the UK economy. This would affect jobs and the cost of living. The prospect of another recession so soon after the brutal Global Financial Crisis is something we should all want to avoid. ‘Brexit’ has already affected the value of our currency. Last year you could get €1.40 to the pound, today I got €1.25.
- Leaving would not be fair on the kids. At the moment our young people are free to live and work anywhere in the European Union. ‘Brexit’ would be the end of all that. A lot of the debate is around immigration into the UK but free movement goes both ways. We shouldn’t forget that.
- The European Union has been good for workers rights’ and for protecting the rights of the individual. It offers the individual a safety net against the arbitrary abuse of power by member states. In my view the European Convention on Human Rights, which Clement Attlee signed when he was Prime Minister, is a good thing and it should be upheld and defended.
- Unity is strength. In an uncertain world European unity and solidarity is an important contributor to global stability and peace. The week after the referendum on the 1st July we will be marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. I walked across that battlefield last summer and couldn’t help but think that we’ve come a long way since then.
“So I will be voting ‘Remain’ on Thursday 23rd June.
“Whichever your preference, please make sure that you vote.”