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IBM, Microsoft And BT Urge UK To Vote ‘Remain’ In EU Referendum

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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34 leading UK tech executives say a Brexit would harm tech companies and their customers while damaging the British economy

An open letter signed by 34 of the UK’s leading technology companies has urged the British electorate to vote for the country to stay a member of the European Union (EU) at the polls on Thursday (23 June).

The letter was published in The Times newspaper, which has recently declared its support for the ‘remain’ campaign, and said the reasons for staying within the EU were not nostalgic but based on concerns that the technology market and its customers would be negatively impacted by a ‘Brexit’.

“Tech companies are not starry eyed about the European Union, but repeated surveys of start-ups, SMEs, investors and corporates make it clear that the overwhelming majority would vote to stay in,” said the letter.

Vote remain says UK tech

EU Brexit referedum“Why? Because we believe staying in the EU is the best choice for the UK economy. According to techUK members, most of whom are small businesses, being part of the EU makes it easier for them to trade and do business across Europe. It makes the UK more attractive to international investment and makes Britain more globally competitive.

“A decision to exit the EU would leave tech firms and their customers, facing significant and prolonged uncertainty and leave the UK side-lined on key decisions that will shape a digital market of 500 million consumers.

“The UK’s tech sector is a global success. It is growing faster than the rest of the UK economy and creating new businesses and jobs across the country. EU membership has underpinned that success. A vote to leave would undermine it.”

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The signatories include the UK heads of Microsoft, IBM, SAP and Accenture, as well as the CEOs of BT and Virgin Media, both of whom have suggested future investment in the country’s broadband infrastructure is at risk if Britain leaves the EU.

Research from industry body techUK suggests 70 percent of its members want to stay in the EU, 15 percent want to leave and 15 percent don’t know. The majority support the UK’s membership because it makes the country more attractive to international investment, makes the UK more globally competitive and gives it a more favourable trading relationship with other members.

A separate study from Tech London Advocates showed 87 percent of its members oppose a ‘Brexit’.

Quiz: What do you know about European technology?