EU referendum: Scottish businesses should “get off the sidelines”, says Menzies Campbell

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 25 April 2016 in News

Michael Gove warns that a vote to remain in the EU would mean an immigration “free for all”

Scottish businesses should “get off the sidelines” and make the economic case for membership of the EU, according to Menzies Campbell.

Lord Campbell, leader of the European Movement in Scotland campaign, said Scotland “could hold the key to the outcome” of the referendum.

With recent employment figures from the ONS showing unemployment in Scotland rose by 20,000 between December and February, Campbell pointed to the economic risk of leaving the single market.


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Meanwhile Michael Gove warned that a vote to remain in the EU would mean an immigration “free for all”.

Writing in the Times, Gove claimed future immigration from prospective member states such as Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania and Turkey would put pressure on UK public services.

Gove said: “Because we cannot control our borders — and because our deal sadly does nothing to change this fact — public services such as the NHS will face an unquantifiable strain as millions more become EU citizens and have the right to move to the UK.”

He added: “If we vote to remain, we vote to put more pressure on the health service — we accept there will be many more people coming here to use our NHS, accept that we lose our veto over changes in Europe that will weaken all our economies and accept that the money available to invest in public services will decline.”

Home Secretary Theresa May, who is campaigning for Remain, is also expected to intervene in the campaign today.

The European Movement in Scotland pointed to Treasury analysis suggesting the UK's national income could be six per cent smaller by 2030 if the UK voted to leave.

Arguing that more than 330,000 Scottish jobs are dependent on EU exports, Campbell said: “It is vital that Scottish businesses get off the sidelines and ensure that they raise their concerns over an exit and highlight what the bigger picture of our EU membership means to them.

“As part of the largest single market in the world, our businesses are able to trade freely across the 28 nations of the EU and we are a focus for inward investment, in part due to our membership of the EU. However, the Scottish Chamber of Commerce has already highlighted how ‘fragile’ the Scottish economy is and withdrawal from the EU will damage our economic recovery.

He said: “The business community has a key role to play here and would urge those who benefit from and see our future as being members of the EU not to sit on the sidelines and see us sleepwalking to Brexit, but to stand up and be counted.”

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