The UK car industry has commissioned a major research study into the benefits of belonging to the trading block to underline the ramifications of a potential exit as it sets itself as possibly the most vocal critic of a possible end to Britain’s membership of the EU.
A major importer, exporter, employer and driver of growth in the UK, car industry executives believe the study will show how crucial EU membership is to its position in the country’s economic recovery.
As political rhetoric surrounding the relationship ratchets up ahead of European elections in May and a possible referendum on the UK’s membership in 2017, fear over the impact of a potential British exit are rife within the car industry, heavily dependent on free trade with Europe.
Backed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the UK car industry’s trade association and lobby group, the study intends to show that the industry relies heavily on the UK’s membership of the EU and that there is overwhelming opposition to an exit among its members.
“The position of the business is clear, and that is we need to stay in Europe,” a person with knowledge of the report said. “This will demonstrate the importance of the EU to the UK industry and provide a stronger, authoritative voice to inform the debate.” The report should be published this spring.
The UK’s car industry, which has been held up by the government as a textbook example of a manufacturing-driven economic recovery story, has an annual turnover of £40 billion and employs over 700,000 people. Car production hit a six-year high in 2013 and is set to pass a four-decade long peak in the next few years. Roughly 4 in every 10 cars built in the UK are shipped to EU countries.
Via Financial Times