LEADING figures from businesses gathered to debate the EU referendum at a round table event.
A business breakfast was held at the offices of Verisona Law at 1000 Lakeside, North Harbour.
The law firm invited guests from a range of industries across Portsmouth to give their views on Brexit, due to be decided on Thursday.
The News’ business editor Kimberley Barber chaired last week’s meeting, which saw a lively discussion. The subject divided opinion among the guests, especially on whether leaving Europe would be good for business by opening up global trade – and how long the effect of a vote for Brexit would take to be felt.
However all the guests agreed they felt under-informed about the ramifications of Brexit and they felt scaremongering from both sides had harmed the debate.
Stephen Ryde-Weller, head of the corporate and commercial team at Verisona Law, said: ‘It is a shame that there has been really extreme scaremongering and that the public will be voting on that.’
Roger Sherliker, from Hughes Ellard, said there had already been a ‘harmful’ period of uncertainty as people waited for the result before making any decisions, and that may continue with a vote for the Leave side.
He said: ‘A lot of businesses are concerned. Whatever decision we make, in 10 or 20 years’ time it will be fine but it is how long that uncertainty will last that is harmful.’
Susan Lloyd, from Churchill Square Consulting, said she believed the UK would be fine if it were to leave the EU.
‘At the end of the day, we are one of the biggest economies in the modern world. We will be fine if we are out,’ she said.
Daniel Kirtley, from Meridian Corporate Finance, spoke about the importance of voting. He said: ‘It is important as it is the only decision we will get to make on the EU.’
Other topics debated included the impact that a Brexit vote would have on manufacturing and on trade deals that are in place both in Europe and across the world.
The guests also spoke about the access to security data that the UK benefits from and the misrepresentation of the media about immigration and border control that would supposedly arise from a Brexit vote.
Other guests at the event were; David Adams, from Vision Business Consulting, Stuart Lawrance from Compass Accountants, Gary Hodgson from Natwest, Sue Ball from Verisona Law, Graham Nash from Hughes Ellard and Tansy Bristow, from Vail Williams.
Claire Peers, head of marketing at Verisona Law, said the event was a success and the firm would be looking to hold more similar events. For more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (023) 9231 2077.