Key Questions

Do foreigners invest in the UK mainly because it is a member of the EU?

Does the EU negotiate better trading agreements with non-EU countries than the UK could do alone?

Will unemployment rise if we leave the EU?

Key facts

77 per cent of car-makers have agreed that remaining in the EU is “best for our business”, and 59 per cent said that Exit would have a “negative impact”.

The Institute of Directors, which represents business leaders, is neutral but its poll showed that a large majority of members was in favour of staying In but 40% said that they had not yet discussed it with their Boards.


Vote Leave


The free flow of capital is one of the four freedoms of the EU and if we left then there is a risk that any barriers will deter investors.

The biggest European investors in the UK are the Netherlands with 15%, France with 8% and Germany with 7%. Individually they are overshadowed by the US with 28%, but the cumulative European figure of 58% is more than double that.

Industry Group 2014/15
Projects Total jobs
Advanced Manufacturing 468 33,288
Energy and Infrastructure 241 14, 738
Financial and professional services 515 34,921
Creative industries and ICT 486 13,590
Life Sciences 168 6,583
Electronics and Telecoms 110 4,538
Grand total 1,988 107, 658

Source: UKTI

There are some sectors closely tied to the EU such as cars and food. It is very unlikely that they would just close down and walk off to Europe but they would have to take into account any extra costs for new investment.

A CBI poll concluded that 80% of businesses want the UK to stay in the EU.

There is some confusion at Toyota where the chief executive said that Exit would make no difference while the UK chief executive said it would be a disaster – as did many other car manufacturers such as BMW who circulated all their employees with the reasons for staying In.

It is generally the larger companies wanting us to stay in the EU. They are multinationals who  can move their capital around most easily. Smaller businesses are more negative as they see a lot of the EU regulations being time wasting and expensive.

However, it is difficult to deny that Exit is seen more negatively by industry which does not like being exposed to the uncertainty and the currency risks while the terms of the EU relationship are being negotiated.

EU labour laws have definitely favoured the employees with the regulations in such areas as parental leave, protection of employment on transfer of business etc. The Unions and Labour are generally wanting to stay in the EU because they believe the UK would reduce this protection.


The LSE has done a study on the effect of Brexit on foreign direct investment

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Industry is too intertwined with its EU partners

We will have influence over EU red tape

Manufacturers like the economics but hate the bureaucracy

It is easier to recruit from across the EU


There is far too much red tape

Our economy is growing much faster than EU

We will be affected by Eurozone problems

Tech companies would be more entrepreneurial