Aerospace, defence industry backs Britain’s EU membership

03 Apr, 2016 3:00 pm

LONDON – The majority of British aerospace, defence, security and space companies believe that the country should stay in the European Union, the latest business group to come out in favour of staying in the bloc.

The economic impact of a ‘Brexit’ is one of the key issues for voters ahead of a referendum on Britain’s EU membership on June 23.

ADS Group, the industry body for aerospace, defence, security and space companies in Britain, said that 70 percent of its members believe it would be better for their business if the country stayed in the EU.

“Our members recognise the benefits of the UK remaining part of the EU; access to integrated European supply chain; R&D funding which enables the UK to compete globally, and the ability to influence and shape EU regulation,” ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt said.

The industry’s view echoed the comments of bosses at more than a third of Britain’s biggest companies including major oil firms Shell RDSA.L and BP (BP.L) and its largest telecoms group BT (BT.L) who warned in February that leaving the EU would put jobs and investments at risk.

Some companies do, however, favour an exit from the EU. The campaign for Britain to leave the EU has been backed by 250 business leaders including the former chief executive of HSBC, the Vote Leave group said in March.

Members of the ADS group employ 310,000 people in Britain and generate 31 billion pounds in exports for the country. The survey was carried out in February and March, ADS said.

Planemaker Airbus (AIR.PA), which employs 16,000 people in Britain building wings for its aeroplanes amongst other activities, said in February that its British operations would be less competitive if the country voted to leave the EU. -Reuters

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