8:18am Monday 22nd April 2013
HUNDREDS of British business leaders have called on Westminster to negotiate a better deal for the UK with Brussels.
David Cameron has pledged to claw back powers and then offer voters a choice of staying in the European Union in a referendum by the end of 2017, if the Conservatives are returned to power at the next election.
The new Business for Britain campaign backed the Prime Minister's approach to renegotiation and called for a cross-party "national drive to renegotiate the terms of Britain's membership of the EU".
Ocado chairman Sir Stuart Rose and Next boss Lord Wolfson are among the 500 people associated with businesses from blue chip firms to small companies who have signed up to the campaign.
They said: "As business leaders and entrepreneurs responsible for millions of British jobs, we believe that the Government is right to seek a new deal for the EU and for the UK's role in Europe. Far from being a threat to our economic interests, a flexible, competitive Europe - with more powers devolved from Brussels - is essential for growth, jobs and access to markets.
"We therefore welcome the launch of Business for Britain's campaign for real change in the EU and urge all political parties to join in committing themselves to a national drive to renegotiate the terms of Britain's membership of the EU."
The group's co-chairman Alan Halsall, boss of pram maker Silver Cross, said: "Business for Britain has been formed because many would have you believe that business doesn't want politicians to try and renegotiate a better deal from Europe.
"But we know that jobs and economic growth depend on a more flexible, looser relationship with the EU. Just as Business for Sterling stopped Britain joining the euro, Business for Britain will get us this better deal."
JML founder John Mills added: "This campaign is not about taking political sides or backing the right horse - it's about doing what's best for British business. I have been a member of the Labour Party for 40 years, others supporting the campaign are supporters of different political parties or none at all.
"The important part is that the signatories to Business for Britain want to show the country that business does not fear Britain's politicians seeking a better deal from Brussels."
© Press Association 2013
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group