EU referendum: Virgin Money chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia says Brexit would lead to fewer jobs and less prosperity

 
Lauren Fedor
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Virgin Money boss Jayne-Anne Gadhia at last year's CBI conference (Source: Getty)

Virgin Money chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia became the latest big business boss to wade in the European Union debate over the weekend when she came out in favour of the UK remaining in the EU.

Gadhia said that while she "could see benefits of not being subject to all the bureaucracy of Europe", remaining in the EU would be "beneficial" if Prime Minister David Cameron can secure meaningful reforms.

"If we were to come out of Europe there will be pressure on sterling, the gilt markets will reprice. The price of consumer finance, mortgages and credit would increase. It could increase the price of financial products. That ends with fewer jobs and less prosperity," Gadhia told The Sunday Times.

She added: "I’m definitely not a ‘stay in at all costs’ person. But to my business, my staff, my customers and my family there are more risks of being out than in."

Gadhia's comments come just days after Cameron told business leaders at the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos that they should be making the case for Britain's membership in the European Union.

"I hope that businesses and NGOs and other organisations don't hold back," the Prime Minister said in Davos.

"And I would say, don't hold back right now," Cameron added, saying corporate leaders should not wait until the official campaign period to speak out.

Read more: Cameron: "I'm not in a hurry" to hold EU referendum

Gadhia said over the weekend that she agreed that firms should get involved in the debate.

"Given the importance of the EU referendum to the future of our country, I do believe business leaders should be commenting on how they expect the EU decision to affect their business. After all, only by doing that can everyone be better informed about the decision they wish to make," Gadhia she said, adding "I am optimistic that the Prime Minister will achieve a new deal for the UK in Europe through his negotiations – and that will deliver a more secure economy."

"With a new deal in place, from my point of view, Britain staying in Europe is essential, both to protect our future economic interests and to provide greater opportunity and access to collaborate with our trading partners."

Sky News reported last week that Cameron had urged business leaders at a meeting of his Business Advisory Group (BAG) before Davos to speak out in support of his renegotiation efforts.

Gadhia is a a member of the group, as are easyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall, Legal & General boss Nigel Wilson and Rolls-Royce's Warren East.

According to Sky, Cameron is understood to have told business leaders that he did not want to undermine his negotiations with other EU member states by pushing for the UK to remain in the EU "at all costs".

Cameron has promised an in/out vote by the end of 2017, following a period of renegotiation. He has said repeatedly that he is optimistic about securing a final reform deal at next month's European Council meeting in Brussels.

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