This is the political decision of a generation, so we want to ensure that even if people missed the debate they can catch up on our YouTube channel
The EU Referendum on 23 June is just over a month away and many small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners are still unclear on how leaving or staying in the EU will affect their businesses and themselves.
For this reason, the UK200Group, the UK’s leading membership association of quality-assured independent chartered accountancy and law firms, has uploaded a film of its high-profile Campaign for Clarity debate at Coventry University London Campus to YouTube in order to clarify the arguments of both Remain and Leave camps.
Collectively, the UK200Group’s members support over 150,000 SMEs, many of whom are asking their accountants and lawyers how a ‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’ vote will affect their businesses. These questions were posed to the panel at the debate.
The fiery debate was chaired by futurologist and author Dr James Bellini, who spent 25 years in the broadcasting industry presenting programmes such as The Money Programme, Newsnight and Panorama, and as a studio presenter with Financial Times Television and Sky News.
Yvette Cooper MP made her case for remaining in the EU. One of the most respected members of the Labour Party and a former Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette is the Member of Parliament for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford. She said, “I think Britain is a great country and a small island that punches about its weight; not because of our industrial past or our colonial history, but because we have a pivotal position in so many of the important networks across the planet. Uniquely, Britain is a member of NATO, the Commonwealth, the Five Eyes and also the UN and EU, and it’s that pivotal role which strengthens our global influence, our power, our security, our trade and our economic opportunity.”
Lucy Thomas, Deputy Director of Britain Stronger in Europe, also argued the case for continuing our membership of the EU. “This decision is not about whether we join the EU or indeed whether the EU is perfect at everything it does. It is about whether we remain part of the EU, with all of the benefits that brings: remain part of the world’s largest free trade single market, where almost half of our exports go, which has 500 million consumers, which allows our businesses to trade freely, and which is linked to about three million jobs in the UK.”
Making the case for exiting the EU was David Davis MP, the Member of Parliament for Haltemprice & Howden and an important and consistent voice in the Conservative Party. “What I want to see is control of my country back, and the primary reason is not initially about business: the primary reason is about democracy. The EU, unfortunately, is an anti-democratic organisation. People from Jean-Claude Juncker to Dimitris Avramopoulos have said, in effect, that they don’t listen to the voters when they make their policies. Look at the consequences of that – that’s why we got the Greece tragedy.”
Douglas Carswell MP, Member of Parliament for Clacton, also argued the case for Brexit. Douglas was the first elected member of the UK Independence Party, in a by-election triggered by his high-profile defection from the Conservative Party in 2014. “If there was a single word I would use to explain why I think we should leave the EU, it is ‘obsolete’. The EU is obsolete. When we joined what was to become the EU, it was sold to us as an economic proposition. Yes, they said, we might lose a bit of self-government, but it would make us more prosperous. Look across the channel today: who now seriously believes that?”
Although the UK200Group remains impartial and unbiased, a poll of its members’ views was taken before and after the debate. While there was a clear majority of Remain supporters, the ‘Undecided’ voters at the beginning of the debate appeared to be split evenly between Remain and Leave by the end.
James Abbott, President of the UK200Group, said, “It is the insight and the strength of our members’ relationship with their clients that led to this Campaign for Clarity, a campaign that raises awareness of the views, opinions and needs of SME businesses to enable them to make an informed decision on 23 June.
“This is the political decision of a generation, so we want to ensure that even if people missed the debate they can catch up on our YouTube channel.
“We’ve also passed 30 key questions affecting SMEs to both sides of the referendum, and we’re looking forward to working with both Remain and Leave campaigns to publish their responses.”
The UK200Group, which was established in 1986, represents a group of trusted, quality-assured business advisers – accountants and lawyers – who have over 150,000 SME clients in total. As such, the UK200Group acts as the voice for 1,500 charities, over 10% of all registered academies, more than 3,700 farms, 800 healthcare businesses and over 500 property and construction professionals.
Debate on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrSZ8-iNYuQ
The UK200Group: http://www.uk200group.co.uk/
UK200Group on Twitter: https://twitter.com/uk200group
Coventry University London Campus: http://www.coventry.ac.uk/culc/
Dr James Bellini: http://www.jamesbellini.com/
David Davis MP: http://www.daviddavismp.com/
Yvette Cooper MP: http://www.yvettecooper.com/
Douglas Carswell MP: http://www.douglascarswell.com/about-douglas/
Britain Stronger in Europe: http://www.strongerin.co.uk/
High resolution images are available on request.
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About the UK200Group:
The UK200Group was formed in 1986, and is the UK’s leading association of independent chartered accountants and law firms, with connections around the world.
The association brings together around 150 member offices in the UK with more than 500 partners who serve roughly 150,000 business clients. Its international links in nearly 70 countries give its members access to expertise across the globe.
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