Engineers warn Brexit will damage industry

1 min read

Speaking at a conference organised by the German British Forum, Juergen Maier, chief executive of Siemens UK, and Dick Elsy, chief executive of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, warned that the UK would lose massive amounts of investment in R&D and access to the latest technology research projects if it decides to exit the EU on 23 June.

Maier said: “For Siemens the UK would not be interesting enough as a country on its own. We are interested in developing R&D and technology. The UK is an attractive market. But after we’ve developed we want to export the technology around the world, and by developing it just to British standards we would not be able to do that.”

Siemens has 13 factories in the UK and directly employs 14,000 people. Worldwide the company has a presence in almost every country and employs around 348,000 people.

Elsy, added: “We can access significantly more innovation capability working within the collaborative community of the EU. We’re not producing enough British engineers to fill the vacancies we have, and its engineers from across Europe who help us address that.”

Speaking at the same conference, Matthew Elliott, chief executive of Business for Britain and the Vote Leave campaign, countered: “All of those dire warnings are wrong. The EU is a very uncompetitive place to do business and I’m sceptical it could become more competitive. If we stay in the EU we will see more powers to Brussels, more money going to other parts of the EU and more powers to the European Court of Justice. If we leave we can stop being an unhappy tenant and become a good neighbour.”

Maier added: “It’s not for us in business to tell people how to vote, we just want to inform the debate and enable people to make a better decision. If we Brexit we would end up in a more protectionist environment, over time it would decrease competitiveness and harm the economic growth of the UK.”