New CBI head backs UK membership of Europe

THE INCOMING president of the CBI has said Britain would lose out if it were to quit the European Union.

Roger Carr, president-elect of the CBI and chairman of Centrica, said: “Economic conditions in Europe are challenging but it remains a major UK trading partner.

“Britain must strive to be more competitive and continue to press for further liberalisation. You cannot effect change from the sidelines and thoughts of abandonment should not be contemplated,” said Carr, in comments that were a reflection of his own views rather than the CBI’s.

He made his comments after a new poll found that 74 per cent of business leaders believe a UK withdrawal from the EU would be damaging.

The Ipsos MORI poll for Business for New Europe found only 22 per cent would back an exit from the EU.

Pressure has been mounting for a referendum on UK membership of the European Union, following the high-profile collapse of the Irish banking sector and the Greek debt crisis.

A poll by Angus Reid earlier this month showed 48 per cent of the public want to sever ties with the EU.