After a Brexit war game found prospects for the UK outside the EU are bleak, should we take the result seriously?

Does Britain need EU membership to have a promising future? (Source: Getty)

Rajesh Agrawal, founder and chief executive of RationalFX and Xendpay and business adviser to Labour’s London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan, says Yes.

The EU gives us access without barriers to 500m customers, £24bn of foreign investment and the clout of negotiating as part of the world’s largest trade bloc. Britain could of course go it alone, do things our way, tell the Eurocrats where to go. But rather than regaining sovereignty, the truth is we’d end up with less ability to pursue our interests. For example, for the sake of half our exports, we would surely want to negotiate retaining access to the Single Market. In return, we’d have to agree to stick to the rules, even the ones we don’t like. But by leaving the EU, we would have given up our seat at the table where these rules are set and where our economic interests, including those of the City, can be defended. The bleak reality of Brexit might not hit us straight away, but over time this loss of influence would have serious consequences for business, for trade and for jobs. Britain is better served by remaining in the driving seat, not relegating ourselves to the sidecar.

Richard Tice, co-founder of Leave.EU and former chief executive of a FTSE 250 company, says No.

Reports of Euro-pocalypse after Brexit have been greatly exaggerated. Hardly a week goes by without another huge name coming out to dispel the myth of a latter-day corporate exodus. Unilever was the most recent, right behind Toyota, which was itself following Bentley, Rolls-Royce and other carmakers. Even Airbus has said it’s going nowhere. And why should they? Plenty of countries trade freely with the Single Market from outside the EU, and successful democracies from Canada to New Zealand manage perfectly well as free-standing nations. Brexit will empower the UK to make bilateral deals around the world and play its full part in global trade bodies. The Remain campaign should think of all the opportunities this will allow us to create, and have a bit more confidence in the UK. Jim Ratcliffe, the head of Britain’s biggest private company, summed it up when he said that we can govern ourselves without “layers and layers” of burdensome EU regulations on top of national legislation.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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