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Survey Says UK Carmakers Want to Remain in EU

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has released the results of a survey which shows that more than 90% of automotive companies want to remain in the EU.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has released the results of a survey which shows that more than 90% of automotive companies want to remain in the EU. Those polled perceive benefits in the single market, funding for research and development and access to free movement of labour, seeing these as vital for the future health and growth of the industry. The SMMT surveyed automotive companies across the UK and found that 92% of those polled thought that remaining in the EU would be the best option for their businesses. The survey also revealed that 70% of companies believed that withdrawing from the EU would actively damage their business in the longer term.

The SMMT’s respondents reported that the major attractions of EU membership were the single market, innovation funding from EU institutions, integrated supply chains, single standards for products and regulations and free movement of labour. Commenting on the results, SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, said: "The position of the UK automotive industry is clear - being part of a strong Europe is critical for future success. The recent success of the UK automotive sector is due to its global competitiveness; competitiveness that is enhanced by a supportive business environment at home and access to the huge single market."

The survey follows on from the statement by Prime Minister, David Cameron, that he would hold a referendum on EU membership if the Conservatives won the next election. The car industry has been one of the most committed supporters of EU membership. As a £60 billion industry that makes up 4% of the country’s GDP, it wields significant influence in the debate. Certain figures within the industry have condemned the vote, expressing concern that it is causing uncertainty in the industry. The feeling is that such uncertainty could impact investments, reducing levels from the £6 billion that has been invested by the UK sector in the last three years alone.

This viewpoint is not shared by some in Government, with Minister of State for Business, Michael Fallon, countering: "It's a worthwhile debate if the UK remains in the EU but I have not come across any uncertainty. The only proof of uncertainty is if investment in the UK stops or falls away but we have not seen that."

Whatever the truth of the matter, it is certain that the UK’s car industry remains in a strong position to influence the debate, with production at a six year high emphasising the success of the current relationship with other European nations.

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