BUSINESS leaders from across Portsmouth have united in a campaign appealing for the UK to leave the European Union.
Ian Brown, managing director of Industrial Maintenance Services, in Copnor, is the chairman of the group, called Business for Britain South East.
We’re the fifth largest economy in the world and we should be able to decide our own futureIan Brown, chairman of Business for Britain South East
He claimed the future for trade across the region would be boosted if the UK axed its ties with the EU.
Mr Brown warned that EU regulations were ‘holding back businesses’ and ‘making it tougher than ever to create new jobs’.
At the launch meeting held at Fratton Park, Mr Brown said: ‘I would encourage everyone to look at the facts, look at what being members of the European Union costs us – £350m a week.
‘Look at how Europe is governed by Brussels.
‘We’re the fifth largest economy in the world and we should be able to decide our own future.
‘I truly believe that we can prosper outside the European Union. Leaving it is not anything to be frightened about.’
The regional campaign group was formed to provide a platform for businesses across the area to voice their views on leaving Europe.
Mr Brown said leaving the union could provide lucrative potential for Britain to make its own trade agreements with emerging markets like India and China.
But Portsmouth’s Labour leader, councillor John Ferrett is opposed to axing ties with Europe.
He said if this were to happen it would be a ‘backward step’ for the nation.
Cllr Ferrett argued that Britain being part of Europe gave the nation ‘access to one of the biggest single markets in the world’.
‘I can understand that small businesses may see some benefits to their businesses because they just deal in a domestic market,’ said Cllr Ferrett.
‘But I think for the country as a whole, it would be a backward step not just in terms of the economy but also with our relationship with our European friends.’