Which way to vote: an investor’s perspective

Businessman Andy Preston outside BoHo 4, Gibson House in central Middlesbrough. 17/3/15 Pic Doug Moody Photography
Tees Business Digital Media Pack

Businessman Andy Preston outside BoHo 4, Gibson House in central Middlesbrough. 17/3/15  Pic Doug Moody Photography

With the referendum on whether or not Britain should leave the European Union set to take place on June 23, Andy Preston, the Tees region’s Business Ambassador for the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign, explains why he, as a business investor, believes the EU is best for Tees businesses.

I do find it slightly tempting to support the idea of Brexit.

As an ideological place to be, it’s full of temptations such as simplicity, patriotism and machismo. In addition to that, I’m an innately independent kind of character, so I have big natural sympathies with those who argue for Britain standing on its own.

But when I looked into issues surrounding this massively important referendum, I started to see the truth.

I am an investor. I risk my own money by investing into businesses and buildings – and overall I do very well. Before I make decisions, however, I usually ask the opinions of experts. It would be insane not to listen to them before making a decision.

When it comes to staying or leaving the EU I think there are several kinds of experts to consult. They come in four groups: trade unions, businesses, British politicians, world leaders.

Tellingly, each one of those four groups strongly believes that both you and I are better off if the UK stays in the EU.

Consider their expert advice:

1. Britain’s Trade Union movement is almost 100% behind remaining in the EU and sees continued membership as being essential to protect workers’ rights and job prospects generally.

2. Businesses in Britain are highly supportive of staying in the EU. Of course, not every business is supportive but the majority are.

Deloitte’s quarterly survey of the directors of the biggest companies shows 75% support remaining in the EU, and right now 89% of businesses who trade most actively in Europe support staying in.

And Richard Branson says that leaving the EU would be “the worst decision Britain could ever make”.

For Teessiders who’re proud and defensive of the excellent chemical industry it’s essential to note that Britain’s chemical engineers are 75% in favour of Britain staying in the EU.

3. British Politicians are hugely in favour of staying in the EU. Those who want us to leave can mostly be characterised by being either egocentric or eccentric: Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, for instance.

I would advise you to think long and hard about the fact that two staggeringly populist and personally ambitious characters seem to be the figureheads of the Brexit campaign!

4. World leaders are hugely supportive of our role in the EU. Barrack Obama, who remains the most powerful man in the world, is scheduled to express support for the Remain campaign in the coming weeks.

Most world leaders are of the same view. Tellingly one world leader speaks out against the EU and wants the UK to leave: Vladimir Putin.

You can decide whose advice to follow there – but my instincts are strongly against the dictator who seeks to destabilise the whole of Europe!

From a personal perspective, this investor finds the intelligent and strong voices arguing for Britain to remain the EU compelling and will be voting that way.

Andy Preston


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